Monthly Archives: February 2011

In a new Kaiser Health poll, just 52% of Americans knew that the health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama is still in place. Meanwhile, one fifth — 22% — of all Americans believe that the law has been overturned, while another 26% aren’t sure what’s up with the law.

via Poll: Barely Half Of Americans Know Health Care Law Hasn’t Been Repealed | TPMDC.


That didn’t take long.


That was quick.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indiana Attorney General’s office announced Wednesday afternoon its deputy attorney general is no longer employed by the agency, after reviewing political website Mother Jones’   published allegations that he advocated the use of force against protesters in Wisconsin.

via WeigelTweet lands Deputy AG in hot water.

I guess the conservative movement just got a new hero.

In the same piece, Weigel says Rep. Capuano from Mass. has apologized for telling people it’s time to get bloody. So maybe we are learning after all.

Wouldn’t it be nice if taxpayers could somehow get a refund for government programs that didn’t work?

Instead, the opposite tends to happen. Programs that fail to make a difference — like many of those that train workers for new jobs — endure indefinitely. Often, policy makers don’t even know which work and which don’t, because rigorous evaluation is rare in government. And competition, which punishes laggards in the private sector, is typically absent in the public sector.

But there is some good news on this front. Lately, both American and British policy makers have been thinking about how to bring some of the competitive discipline of the market to government programs, and they have hit on an intriguing idea.

David Cameron’s Conservative government in Britain is already testing it, at a prison 75 miles north of London. The Bloomberg administration in New York is also considering the idea, as is the State of Massachusetts. Perhaps most notably, President Obama next week will propose setting aside $100 million for seven such pilot programs, according to an administration official.

The idea goes by one of two names: pay for success bonds or social impact bonds. Either way, nonprofit groups like foundations pay the initial money for a new program and also oversee it, with government approval. The government will reimburse them several years later, possibly with a bonus — but only if agreed-upon benchmarks show that the program is working.

If it falls short, taxpayers owe nothing.

via For Federal Programs, a Bit of Market Discipline – David Leonhardt –

Buy why should taxpayers — who presumably would be glad to benefit from widespread implementation of programs that prove successful — be off the hook for any of costs of developing those programs? I could see some scheme where the nonprofit gets reimbursed on some sliding scale depending on how close they come to the benchmarks, but the idea that ie. a reading program should receive no money at all because it only increases literacy rates by 22% rather than 25% is absurd. It also assumes that the impact of these programs can be precisely measured and will definitely appear in the expected timeframe, and as Leonhardt himself points out the reliance on metrics and benchmarks opens up the possibility of cooking the books and/or selective enrollment.

One of Leonhardt’s links goes to a page at the Brookings Institute that says programs that promote childhood development (Head Start, etc) do not work because since 1973, the poverty rate has gone up. Because the only factors affecting the poverty rate are a few billion dollars’ worth of federal programs? So I’m really not sure how on-the-level this is, but that particular bit of reasoning might as well have come from Fox and Friends.

On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn’t end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: “Use live ammunition.”

From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were “political enemies” and “thugs” who were “physically threatening legally elected officials.” In response to such behavior, he said, “You’re damned right I advocate deadly force.” He later called me a “typical leftist,” adding, “liberals hate police.”

Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.

via Indiana Official: “Use Live Ammunition” Against Wisconsin Protesters | Mother Jones.

Man, that “typical” thing is just the height of stupid discourse. You’re just like all the imaginary leftists that dwell in my head! And can we get over “thug,” by the way? When you’re trying to portray unarmed people you think should be shot by riot police as the violent oppressive thugs you can tell the word has lost all meaning. It’s the new ‘fascist.’


A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members.

via Dem Rep to unions: Time to get ‘bloody’ « New Hampshire Journal.

How about “Get your hands dirty?” That isn’t vivid enough huh?


(AP)  MADISON – Democrats kept the Wisconsin Assembly up overnight with a droning filibuster in another desperate attempt to block the Republican governor’s bold plan to strip public sector workers of nearly all of their bargaining rights.

via Wisconsin Dems’ filibuster halts anti-union bill – CBS News.

Needs more pro-Republican slant. Not only is this a “desperate attempt” — a line right outt’ve a partisan press release — but when Democrats do it we can suddenly call the filibuster by name. This is the first time in about five years that I’ve seen the AP get any more specific about a filibustered bill than saying that it failed to move to the floor, fell short of the number of votes necessary for passage or etc.

I’m not going to bother specifying the party of the State Senator who wrote this bill because you already know.

SB 222 – This act modifies the child labor laws. It eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed. It also repeals the requirement that a child ages fourteen or fifteen obtain a work certificate or work permit in order to be employed. Children under sixteen will also be allowed to work in any capacity in a motel, resort or hotel where sleeping accommodations are furnished. It also removes the authority of the director of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who employ children and to require them to keep certain records for children they employ. It also repeals the presumption that the presence of a child in a workplace is evidence of employment.

via SB222 – Modifies the child labor laws.

Now why would anyone think it might it be a bad idea for a kid under sixteen to be working the graveyard shift at a roadside motel? Sounds like a great opportunity to meet a wide variety of friendly people.

From the rallies in Wisconsin we have a lovely shot of a Tea Party member respectfully expressing his disappointment with State Senate Dems who bailed to prevent a quorum.


Oh that'll help


To be honest the ubiquity of this Hitler thing is getting pretty comical. Mad at the President? We know who else gave great speeches. Boss got ya down? A cubicle is totally the same thing as being in a concentration camp. Get cut off in traffic? I hear Hitler was also involved in the auto industry.


I like how the sign also implies that the Governor is trying to find and kill the Wisconsin Dems. Classy touch.