Friday Reads: There’s a lot of village idiots these days and a lot serve in CongressPosted: September 27, 2013
A good deal of the disgust I feel with politics has to do with the people who put the idiots in office and don’t bother to separate the lies from the truth. How’s this for a groaner?
In CNBC’s third-quarter All-America Economic Survey, we asked half of the 812 poll respondents if they support Obamacare and the other half if they support the Affordable Care Act.
First thing: 30 percent of the public don’t know what ACA is, vs. only 12 percent when we asked about Obamacare. More on that later.
Now for the difference: 29 percent of the public supports Obamacare compared with 22 percent who support ACA. Forty-six percent oppose Obamacare and 37 percent oppose ACA. So putting Obama in the name raises the positives and the negatives. Gender and partisanship are responsible for the differences. Men, independents and Republicans are more negative on Obamacare than ACA. Young people, Democrats, nonwhites and women are more positive on Obamacare.
By way of context, a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll asked if respondents believe the new health care law is a good or bad idea. Their results: 31 percent think it’s a good idea and 44 percent say bad idea—roughly in line with the Obamacare response. A quarter of respondents said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion, equal to the share in the CNBC poll who don’t know or are neutral on Obamacare.
The numbers about support for Obamacare vs. Affordable Care might seem at odds with the results CNBC released earlier this week showing Americans oppose defunding the new health care by a 44 percent to 38 percent margin and strongly opposed defunding it if it means shutting down the government.
Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducts the survey for CNBC along with Democratic pollster Peter Hart, says Americans could be saying, whether they support it or not, “It’s the law of the land. Let’s give it a try.”
Zimmerman was stopped by Florida Highway Patrol troopers in Brevard County on August 19 just after 11am.
He received a written warning for having an improper tag display on his Honda truck and was told the window’s excessive tint needed to be corrected.
He told the trooper he installed it after he was acquitted because he had been receiving death threats.
FHP’s dash camera video, obtained by Local 6, was also rolling during Zimmerman’s traffic stop on southbound Interstate 95. He did not get out of the vehicle.
Since being acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin in July, Zimmerman has been pulled over twice prior to this for speeding – once in Texas and once in Lake Mary.
He was let off with a warning in the Texas incident and fined $256 in the latter.
Of the 1.66 million high school students in the class of 2013 who took the SAT, only 43 percent were academically prepared for college-level work, according to this year’s SAT Report on College & Career Readiness. For the fifth year in a row, fewer than half of SAT-takers received scores that qualified them as “college-ready.”
The College Board considers a score of 1550 to be the “College and Career Readiness Benchmark.” Students who meet the benchmark are more likely to enroll in a four-year college, more likely to earn a GPA of a B- or higher their freshman year, and more likely to complete their degree.
“While some might see stagnant scores as no news, the College Board considers them a call to action. These scores can and must change — and the College Board feels a sense of responsibility to help make that happen,” the report said.
The report also offered insights into why some students graduated high school prepared for college and others didn’t. Students in the class of 2013 who met or exceeded the benchmark were more likely to have completed a core curriculum, to have taken honors or AP courses, and to have taken higher-level mathematics courses, like precalculus, calculus, and trigonometry.
This is the third act in an improbable triple-fucking of ordinary people that Wall Street is seeking to pull off as a shocker epilogue to the crisis era. Five years ago this fall, an epidemic of fraud and thievery in the financial-services industry triggered the collapse of our economy. The resultant loss of tax revenue plunged states everywhere into spiraling fiscal crises, and local governments suffered huge losses in their retirement portfolios – remember, these public pension funds were some of the most frequently targeted suckers upon whom Wall Street dumped its fraud-riddled mortgage-backed securities in the pre-crash years.
Today, the same Wall Street crowd that caused the crash is not merely rolling in money again but aggressively counterattacking on the public-relations front. The battle increasingly centers around public funds like state and municipal pensions. This war isn’t just about money. Crucially, in ways invisible to most Americans, it’s also about blame. In state after state, politicians are following the Rhode Island playbook, using scare tactics and lavishly funded PR campaigns to cast teachers, firefighters and cops – not bankers – as the budget-devouring boogeymen responsible for the mounting fiscal problems of America’s states and cities.
Not only did these middle-class workers already lose huge chunks of retirement money to huckster financiers in the crash, and not only are they now being asked to take the long-term hit for those years of greed and speculative excess, but in many cases they’re also being forced to sit by and watch helplessly as Gordon Gekko wanna-be’s like Loeb or scorched-earth takeover artists like Bain Capital are put in charge of their retirement savings.
It’s a scam of almost unmatchable balls and cruelty, accomplished with the aid of some singularly spineless politicians. And it hasn’t happened overnight. This has been in the works for decades, and the fighting has been dirty all the way.
It seems state politicians are doing some unbelievable things to worker’s pensions. These are the same tricks that many politicians want to play with our social security. Its a stunning read.
M. Dolon Hickmon is the author of an upcoming novel called 13:24 that includes religiously motivated abuse. Hickmon was raised by parents who subscribed to this kind of discipline, and he knows first-hand about deep and long-lasting scars from Bible-based childrearing. Hickmon left his 6,000 member megachurch after a pastor seized on Father’s Day as a prime occasion to teach the congregation how to shape and sand wooden spanking paddles. For Hickmon, the sermon triggered memories of the beatings he had suffered as a child—administered by Christian parents and justified by biblical teachings.
While struggling to hold together his faith, Hickmon sent a letter soliciting advice from an online ministry run by the authors of a popular Evangelical parenting manual. He wrote as if he were a father experiencing marital conflict because his wife interfered when he hit their terrified, screaming six-year-old. In reality, Hickmon was describing his own childhood experience. (You can read his letter, which is full of intentional red flags, here.) The response: Your wife is at fault in coming to your son’s defense. Your son uses her. Either she stays out of the way, or you will have to stop being a real Dad.
Mercifully, secular courts don’t agree that inflicting physical wounds is an acceptable part of parenting. Hana’s parents have been convicted for her death at their hands and will be sentenced in October. Their seven biological children and adopted son—they had also adopted a boy from Ethiopia ironically named Immanuel, meaning “God is with us”— are now safe from their abuse. It is noteworthy, though, that American children are being made safer by secular institutions, not adherence to ancient texts and traditions.
Child protections have become established in most countries, and conversations about child-friendly religion are gaining ground. Even so, many children are subject to patriarchalgroups that take parenting priorities from the Iron Age. Evangelical Christians, fearing that their religion is losing ground, have ramped up recruiting activities targeting high school and college students but also young children. Their tool bag includes afternoon club programs and enticing camps. Some churches, like that of TV’s Duggar family, promote a high birth rate, adding young sheep to the fold the old fashioned way. Many churches encourage members—even those who already have numerous children—to adopt.
Kathryn Joyce’s book, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption exposes Evangelical ministries that have resorted to even lies and bribes to pursue their mission of getting children into good Christian homes. A more common criticism is that Evangelical adoption priorities fuel construction of aid-dependent orphanages rather than addressing the underlying systemic issues that cause maternal destitution and death, leaving children parentless.
So, it seems there are more than a few villages that have sent their idiots to Congress and their state Legislatures.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?