Is “Rural Decline” Just a Statistical Artifact?

Kevin Drum - 42 min 41 sec ago

By coincidence, the Washington Post ran a piece yesterday making the same case that I did this morning: rural areas aren’t really in economic decline. The argument presented by Andrew Van Dam is simple and intriguing.

It has to do with the way the Census Bureau defines rural. Basically, it doesn’t. It defines urban, and then labels everything left over as rural. And that’s a problem: their definition of urban is any city (plus its surrounding areas) with a population of 50,000 or more. Regardless of whether you think this is a good definition, you can see one big problem with it: any rural area eventually gets reclassified as urban if it’s successful and growing. By definition, the only areas left over are those that are declining or growing slowly, and those are the ones we classify as rural.

Van Dam makes the case that if we applied the Census definition to the country in 1950 and then tracked all the areas defined as rural in 1950, it turns out that rural America is doing fine. But in real life, we reclassify these areas every few years and move the best performers into the urban column. Here’s what that looks like:

By 2018, we had reclassified so much of America that the population of “rural” America had barely grown at all because the only places left were the slowest-growing bits:

In a way, rural areas serve as urban America’s farm team: All their most promising prospects get called up to the big leagues, leaving the low-density margins populated by an ever-shrinking pool of those who couldn’t qualify….[But] the character of a place doesn’t necessarily change the moment a city crosses the 50,000-resident mark.

….About 6 in 10 U.S. adults who consider themselves “rural” live in an area classified as metropolitan by standards similar to those used above, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in 2017. And 3 in 4 of the adults who say they live in a “small town”? They’re also in a metro area.

Bottom line: the “decline” of rural America is mostly a statistical artifact. We keep redefining rural to exclude any successful rural areas, and by now the only rural places left are the ones that have been persistently bad performers for the past 70 years. But if “persistently bad performer for the past 70 years” is your definition of rural, it’s merely a tautology to say that rural areas are performing badly.

Categories: Politics

Rick Wilson: Impeachment Hearings Are A Death By A Thousand Cuts For Trump

Crooks and Liars - 1 hour 19 min ago

Host Joy Reid asked Republican strategist what would he do if he were advising Democrats on how to proceed on impeachment. He dismissed concerns about current public opinion and that the Senate will not convict. Those are irrelevant. Hearings on multiple issues (obstruction, taxes,etc) will produce death by 1000 cuts for Trump, whether the Senate does anything or not. It's the slow drip of blood as information gets out that will sway public opinion. As Wilson ended. There are three things you don't rush: sex, cooking ribs, and impeachment.

JOY REID: But the question of whether or not ongoing hearings will the thing that jump-starts the Republicans or that suddenly concentrates the public's mind, impeachment hearings would be like an OJ trial, they would be pushed on social media. This would be the thing that no one could look away from. They would be one focused media stage that the Democrats would have if Republicans had this opportunity. give us a sense of what they would be doing if they had the same scenario of a president ignoring them and going off of the rails. what would they do.

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Categories: Politics

Atlanta Suburb Sends Long-Time Mail Carrier Into Retirement With Love And Style

Crooks and Liars - 1 hour 33 min ago
Atlanta Suburb Sends Long-Time Mail Carrier Into Retirement With Love And Style

Remember that time or two when Social Media didn't suck? And neither did humanity? Here's one of those times.

Floyd Martin has been a mail carrier in Marietta, GA for over 20 years. Retirement is upon him, and the people on his route decided to show him just how beloved he is. It so happens his route includes Jennifer Brett, who is a journalist for the Atlanta Journal Constitutional, and she hopped in his mail truck to keep him company on the last day of his mail deliveries. According to The Washington Post,

Neighbors in Marietta decorated their mailboxes for him, presented him with gifts and threw a tearful block party as they recounted all they ways he has been more than a mail carrier over the past 20 years.

Jennifer Brett, a journalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wanted to document what her town was doing for Martin, so on his last day, she jumped in his truck with him and rode along as he delivered mail to some of the 500 houses on his route. Then she wrote a Twitter feed about what she saw.“Mr. Floyd is our hometown celebrity,” Brett said in an interview with The Washington Post.

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Categories: Politics

An asteroid big enough to have its own moon will pass Earth on Saturday night

Daily Kos - 1 hour 44 min ago

Don’t get out your nuclear missiles. All dinosaurs are safe this time, as the closest approach of asteroid 1999 KW4 will be about 3 million miles—about 12 times the distance from Earth to Moon. So on the list of scary encounters, this is low on the “buy canned food” scale. In fact, this same asteroid has swung past four times before since its discovery, and on one of those occasions it came closer still.

However, it’s big on the interesting scale, because the asteroid sweeping by on Saturday isn’t one body, it’s two. The space rock first found by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) collaboration between NASA, the Air Force, and MIT back in 1994, was determined by JPL researchers in 2001 to actually be a “binary pair” where one asteroid acts as the moon of the other.

aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzEwNS84MTgvb3JpZ2luYWwvMTk5OS1rdzQtYXN0ZXJvaWQuZ2lm.gif  1999 KW4 Image from team led by Dr. Steven Ostro at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Radar imaging during previous close approaches has made the nature of the system and the shape of the two big stones much more apparent. The larger of the pair is just under 0.8 miles wide, making it about 1/100th the mass of the asteroid or comet that carved out the Chicxulub crater and made Tyrannosaurs a non-factor in your daily commute. However, it’s still large enough that if it were to impact, it could be a civilization-ending event. Thankfully neither the big asteroid, or its 0.3 mile moonlet is going to to get all that near on Saturday night. However, they will be back in 2036 for an approach that’s more than twice as close.

Even then, they’re not any kind of threat; unlike the kilometer-wide asteroid 99942 Apophis which is set to pass closer to the Earth than many satellites in 2029. On that one, people will definitely be double-checking their math, and maybe hoping that the planned Asteroid Redirect Mission produces good results. Apophis was named for the “uncreator” who was an enemy of Ra in Egyptian myths so someone seems to have been a little pessimistic when working out those orbital results. 

The 1999 KW4 pair will not be visible to the naked eye, but telescope operators may spot it in the night sky over the next few days near the constellation Hydra.

Categories: Politics

Supporters Of Splitting Washington To Form 51st State Hold Bake Sale Fundraiser

Crooks and Liars - 2 hours 17 min ago
Supporters Of Splitting Washington To Form 51st State Hold Bake Sale Fundraiser

That's almost word-for-word the Associated Press headline. These wack-a-doodles honestly believe that they can split up Washington State (and parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, and Montana) to create some kind Christianist sanctuary state, because the United States is “a Christian nation” under siege by atheists and Communists. The stupid it burns brightly, especially in the interior of Washington State around the Spokane Valley.

Source: Associated Press

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Proponents of creating a 51st state held a bake sale to raise money for their cause.

The Spokesman-Review reports that supporters of the proposed Christian conservative state, which would span parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, raised money by auctioning pies and other desserts.

The Liberty State Gala drew about 200 people in the city of Spokane Valley on Thursday evening.

Speakers included Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, a Spokane Valley Republican who has championed the Liberty State movement.

Shea spoke of the cultural and political differences between eastern and western Washington, denied the existence of global warming, and claimed the United States is “a Christian nation” under siege by atheists and Communists.

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Categories: Politics

Survey Suggests That White Racial Resentment Is Easing

Kevin Drum - 2 hours 30 min ago

A few months ago I wrote a piece for the magazine suggesting that white racial resentment had steadily increased during Barack Obama’s presidency as a reaction against eight years of a black president. But when Obama left, the bubble burst and racial resentment returned to its usual levels. For this reason, Democrats have no reason to fear that a focus on things like immigration reform or racial justice will hurt them electorally in 2020.

A new study confirms this—sort of. It uses results from a panel survey that re-interviews the same people periodically. Here are the results:

What the authors find is that racial resentment stayed roughly steady during Obama’s presidency and then plummeted afterward. This is different from my theory but it has the same basic shape: a dam broke after the 2016 election and racial resentment declined compared to Obama’s time in office.

This is one smallish survey, so as usual I’d caution against taking it too seriously. But it matches a lot of other evidence that, as I suggested last year, “the alienation of the white working class from the party associated with racial diversity was caused by the simple presence of a black man in the White House.” Now that he’s gone, that alienation is easing.

Categories: Politics

Irony Alert: Owners Of Noah's Ark Replica Sue Over...Flood Damage

Crooks and Liars - 2 hours 48 min ago

In a perverse sort of way, you've got to admire the chutzpah of these con artists. Despite getting millions in tax breaks, flouting all kinds of labor laws, and never once turning a profit, the company behind this testament to fleecing the rubes now is suing their insurance carriers for refusing to cover...wait for it....an act of God.

And yes, those are dinosaurs on their stupid Ark.

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal

The owner of the life-size replica of Noah’s Ark in Northern Kentucky has sued its insurers for refusing to cover, of all things … rain damage.

Ark Encounter, which unveiled the 510-foot-long model in 2016, says that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, and its five insurance carriers refused to cover nearly $1 million in damages.

In a 77-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Ark Encounter asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

The ark itself was not damaged and the road has been rebuilt, according to the suit.

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Categories: Politics

Bill Barr Is The Administration's 'Trained Seal'

Crooks and Liars - 3 hours 5 min ago

Kate Bolduan asked reporter Evan Pérez to break down the implications of the Tangerine Tyrant directing his Roy Cohn to conduct an actual witch hunt, going after those who rightly raised alarms about Russian interference into our elections. Pérez explained that one of the ways the Orange Oppressor is accomplishing this degradation of our democracy is to issue an executive order allowing his Roy Cohn (AG Bill Barr) to declassify any material he wants to be able to make public if it helps smear Trump's opponents.

This isn't how they're technically explaining it, of course - they're saying there has to be an investigation into the origins of the Mueller report because they believe the unflattering information about Trump and Russia was ill-gotten. That HE was the one unfairly targeted. Of COURSE he was. Pérez quoted Rep. Adam Schiff's quite appropriate analysis that "while Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies."

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Categories: Politics

Colorado just became the first state to cap the cost of insulin. The price might surprise you

Daily Kos - 3 hours 21 min ago

One example of an early plot point in a dystopian movie: People not being able to afford life-saving medications because corporations are gouging prices. But wait! That’s actually a reality in the U.S. One state, thankfully, is working to change this.

While this law doesn’t apply to the entire country (or even all medications), Governor Jared Polis (who is also the first openly gay Governor and first Jewish Governor in the state), a Democrat in Colorado, signed an exciting bill into law that will ensure people with diabetes (who have insurance) have to spend no more than $100 each month on insulin in co-pays. This is, at minimum, an excellent first step. 

Is $100 a lot? In one perspective: Undoubtedly, yes. Compared to what Colorado residents have been paying, as reported by CBS Denver, however, it’s likely to be a relief. CBS Denver reports that people living with diabetes have been paying between $600 and $900 per month in Colorado. This amount is almost beyond comprehension.  

This price cap will take effect in January 2020. Basically, the law caps co-pays on insulin for Colorado residents no matter how much they need. To be clear: It doesn’t actually cap what insulin manufacturers can charge insurers, but insurance companies have to cover the additional cost or differential, as opposed to the patient. It also refers to people with private insurance.

Colorado state Rep. Dylan Roberts introduced the bill. Roberts, a Democrat, lost his younger brother, Murphy Roberts, to type 1 Diabetes, as reported by CBS Denver. When signing the bill, Polis noted that the bill is to honor Murphy’s life, and “of course for the 400,000 Coloradans who live with diabetes.”

Categories: Politics

Russiagate ICYMI Open Thread: Paul Manafort’s Chicago Banker Busted

Balloon Juice - 3 hours 22 min ago

This was an insanely busy week — and not just for national politics — but it’s good to remember that the work of uncovering the Oval Office Occupation’s myriad crimes goes on, relentlessly. I take this (apart from the obvious) as a reminder to any other Big Money Guys who might’ve approved some less-than-Grade-A Trump-associate transactions… that the Mueller team and its state associates are not demonstrating the kind of sympathetic, who-among-us attitude to which the GOP has accustomed them.

Categories: Politics

Trump is turning every intelligence agency into an instrument of his private revenge

Daily Kos - 3 hours 36 min ago

Donald Trump has authorized Attorney General William Barr to sift through the classified documents of every U.S. intelligence agency looking for material he can use against anyone he perceives as an opponent. This action represents a weaponizing of the entire intelligence network, in essence turning all of the FBI, CIA, NSA and more into an opposition research organization.

Not only does this action threaten the integrity of our government, it also challenges the security of the services involved. In presenting unilateral authority for Barr to declassify material as he pleases, Trump places in danger both the processes and the assets of the agencies involved. From techniques, to technologies, to sources, to the most sacred item of any intelligence agency—the names and locations of agents in the field—there is no aspect of national security unchallenged by the action Trump has taken.

When Representative Devin Nunes attempts to persuade Trump to selectively declassify a much smaller set of material in order to support the pro-Trump report he was writing at the time, directors of every service involved appealed to Congress to prevent their release, warning against the dangers the action could create. But Republicans greased the path that Trump has now taken, voting repeatedly to allow the release of material that the agencies believed a hazard to existing and future operations.

One of the greatest impacts of that action has been a rapid decline in trust by agencies of allied nations. From the Nunes fiasco, to watching Trump hand over classified information to the Russian ambassador, to Jared Kushner’s multiple trips to Saudi Arabia to gift Mohammed bin Salman with a list of those people he most needed to murder, agencies around the world have been given reason after reason to restrict the flow of information from their agencies to the United States. With the action now taken by Trump to end the discretion of agencies in the name of revenge, that door will slam shut. This is the end of the “five-eyes” agreement. The end of open, active cooperation. The end of multi-national operations.

Trump’s actions have just endangered the services, they’ve endangered Americans. In a single executive order, he has done more to put the American at risk than every intelligence operation mounted by our enemies for decades.

Categories: Politics

Impeachable (Open Thread)

Balloon Juice - 3 hours 43 min ago

I’ve talked myself off the “Trump must be impeached now!” ledge by acknowledging two obvious facts: impeachment is a political instrument, and there aren’t enough House Democrats in favor of it right now to proceed. It was inexcusably naive of me to think of it any other way, of course.

As a political instrument, impeachment can’t realistically have a “moral imperative” attached to it since political acts either result in good or bad outcomes for the party committing them, and that is the measure of their success or failure.

If we’re serious about upholding the rule of law in the executive branch in a post-Trump era, we’ll have to figure out another enforcement avenue. The constitutional remedy has been rendered garbage by partisan extremists in the Republican Party who’ve made it clear where their allegiance lies.

Liz Warren and others who point out that Congress has a constitutional duty to act are correct, and I’m glad they’re saying so. But reality is what it is, and that’s what Nancy Pelosi is dealing with right now.

The political risk Pelosi is trying to avoid is galvanizing Trump’s base through an impeachment process that will inevitably end in “exoneration” in the Senate, no matter what the investigation uncovers. That the Senate Republicans will “exonerate” Trump regardless is a near-universally acknowledged truth.

The argument is whether that should be a factor in a decision to impeach or not. I can see both sides of that argument, but if the ultimate goal is to get rid of Trump as soon as possible, the reality is we have to get people on board for impeachment through investigations, if only to clear the “impeached in the House” hurdle, and that work isn’t complete.

The case for impeachment on obstruction grounds is clearly laid out in the Mueller Report, which turfed the decision to Congress, only to have a corrupt AG inappropriately take that decision for himself. Many public actions taken by Trump establish obstruction of justice beyond a reasonable doubt, IMO, but that doesn’t matter politically. Everyone already knows he obstructed the investigation at every turn since he did so in public and even on camera, but Republicans don’t care.

Maybe the thing to do is to take a step back and refocus the investigation. Stipulate (publicly!) that Trump obstructed justice but is effectively above the law because the AG and Congressional Republicans are okay with obstruction of justice committed by fellow Republicans, even though many of those self-same Republicans impeached Bill Clinton on that same charge related to a much more trivial matter (clips of 90s-era Lindsey Graham making floor speeches would be helpful in making this case).

Instead of focusing on bad acts committed by Trump in Part II of the Mueller Report, which is what an impeachment for obstruction of justice would be, perhaps the House Democrats could focus instead on the more consequential heart of the investigation in Part I, which concerned a hostile foreign power’s interference in our election.

That national security threat is ongoing, even according to Trump-appointed intel people, who can be brought before Congress to attest to the urgency. After all, the Mueller Report’s official title is “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” We deserve a public airing of the answers contained in that report and an examination of what has been done to address the ongoing threat, which is pretty much nothing because it hurts Trump’s feelings.

So, make the investigation about Russian interference, with Trump and the compromised and convicted felons associated with his 2016 campaign a sidebar to a larger issue. Trump and his corrupt AG are weaponizing intel to punish political enemies under the rubric of conspiring to interfere with an election, absurdly claiming that Democrats conspired with Russia, even though the Mueller Report makes it clear that Russian efforts were laser-focused on electing Trump.

Okay, then. Call their goddamned bluff and hold public hearings on the origins of the Russia investigation and what it uncovered, which wasn’t at all exculpatory for Trump and his minions, as everyone who’s actually read the report (maybe 5% of Americans, if that) knows.

Trump will whine about “do overs” and “no obstruction” and “no collusion” because he’s successfully made it all about himself. His argument is easier to make to low-info voters if the investigation is focused on Trump’s obstruction of justice.

But the Mueller Report is not and it never was all about Trump, and to manage the risks associated with an impeachment inquiry, perhaps we need to flip that script. When Trump objects to the House investigating Russia’s role in electing Trump and its ongoing actions, ask why he’s opposed to securing our elections against future foreign interference. Frame it as a dire national security threat — which has the advantage of being true — and dare Trump to publicly get in the way of addressing it.

Maybe that’s the path forward.

Categories: Politics

Semi-Raw Data: Household Income in Urban and Rural Areas

Kevin Drum - 3 hours 44 min ago

I’m continuing to poke into the urban-rural divide, and there are several ways to come at it. Here’s one:

  • Choose ten representative rural counties.
  • Choose ten big cities.
  • Compare median household income over time.

There’s no way to do this that’s perfect, but as a first cut to get a flavor of things, I created a list of ten urban counties, ten rural counties, and ten very rural counties. (See Postscript for details.) The Census Bureau has estimates of county-level median income since 1989, and I took the average of each list for each year. Here are the results:

Likewise, the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the unemployment rate by county. Using the same methodology, here it is:

Roughly speaking, rural income has grown slightly more than urban income while rural unemployment averages slightly higher than urban unemployment. Absolute income is higher in cities, of course, but given the higher cost of living in cities I’d guess that the median standard of living is roughly comparable between urban and rural areas.

Now, urban counties obviously have a much higher top end compared to rural counties. The top 10 percent of Los Angeles is probably substantially richer than the top 10 percent in any of the rural counties. On the other hand, urban areas also have a higher poverty rate. Overall, I suspect these averages are fairly representative of what we normally think of as rural and urban, and it suggests that average economic conditions between the two aren’t as different as we often make them out to be.

POSTSCRIPT: There are a surprising number of definitions of rural and urban, but the simplest and most intuitive is based on population density. So I got a list of counties by population density and chose the ten southern and midwestern counties that were closest to a density of 100 per square mile (but allowing only one county per state to maintain a bit of diversity). That forces a random selection, and a density of 100/sqmi is rural but not Deliverance rural, moderate income but not poor. I repeated this for a density of 30 per square mile to get ten very rural counties. For the urban income figures, I chose the counties containing America’s ten biggest cities, once again allowing only one city per state.

Here are the places I used for my averages. For the urban series, I used income figures for the counties containing these cities:

  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Houston, TX
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Columbus, OH
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Indianapolis, IN

The ten rural counties are:

  • Whitley County, IN
  • Pottawattamie County, IA
  • Lamar County, GA
  • Rapides Parish, LA
  • Logan County, OH
  • Floyd County, KY
  • Person County, NC
  • Rhea County, TN
  • Pike County, MS
  • Taylor County, WV

And the ten very rural counties are:

  • Schley County, GA
  • Lawrence County, MS
  • Sevier County, AR
  • Edwards County, IL
  • Graham County, NC
  • Livingston County, KY
  • De Soto Parish, LA
  • Winneshiek County, IA
  • DeKalb County, MO
  • Martin County, IN
Categories: Politics

Game Of Thrones Finale: The Sexist Treatment Of The Mother Of Dragons

Crooks and Liars - 4 hours 35 min ago
File 20190523 187147 uv6n1w.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1 Dany and Jon are seen right before he knifes her in the heart – and the back, for that matter. Courtesy HBO

Stefan Dolgert, Brock University

This story contains spoilers for Season 8 of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones has ended, and all is well — especially with the long-suffering Starks of Winterfell.

Arya has forsaken revenge and is off to explore new lands, Jon Snow is back in the true north with his faithful direwolf, Ghost, Sansa is the Queen in the North for a newly independent realm and Bran the Broken is the near-omniscient ruler of the Six Kingdoms. Westeros is truly the land where dreams come true.

Of course, there is the small matter of why Jon is back with the Night’s Watch — he murdered his lover, queen and aunt, Daenerys “Dany” Targaryen, the self-proclaimed Mother of Dragons who had finally just reconquered her family’s ancestral throne.

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Categories: Politics

Mike's Blog Round Up

Crooks and Liars - 6 hours 4 min ago
Mike's Blog Round Up

The Longer Wknd./Bye-bye Teresa May Edition.

Euro-Lections: Down With Tyranny.

At Crooked, Brian Beutler's afraid things are falling apart: "The Guardrails Have Failed".

Brane Space's Copernicus on Robert Mueller's potentially secret appearance before a Congresional committee.

Persecution of Christians: Does it exist? Reformed Evangelical pastor Bruce Gerencser says it's a myth. (via FairandUnbalanced.)

Weekend Wacky: Photo shoot at the shrink convention.

Thrown at the wall (It all stuck.) by M. Bouffant.

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Categories: Politics

Judge Napolitano Sounds Alarm Over Eroding Separation Of Powers

Crooks and Liars - 6 hours 5 min ago

Last week Fox News' senior legal analyst said that Trump violated the separation of powers, three times in a week and intimated it's a disgrace that the Republicans in Congress look the other way.

"There was a time in American history when Congress wrote the laws and the Pres. enforce the laws and the courts interpreted them. That's built into the Constitution and called the separation of powers.

It’s a very dangerous trend when the president can make his own laws or spend money how he wants even when Congress says no,” Napolitano said.

Napolitano said, "President Trump did this three times in the past week."

Napolitano continued, “It’s a very dangerous trend when the president can make his own laws or spend money how he wants even when Congress says no after he asked for it.”

Napolitano highlighted what he said were three instances when Trump violated the Constitution. And he did not mince his words as he went through all three cases.

“It is dangerous when presidents write their own laws, impose their own taxes, spend money how they want, and Congress looks the other way,” Napolitano said. “It’s dangerous because it's too much of an accumulation of power in the presidency, and it imbalances that delicate balance that the separation of powers created.”

Even to Judge Napolitano, Donald Trump's power grab that has been aided by the supplicants in Congress are turning his term into an Imperial presidency.

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Categories: Politics

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Rural America should not be forgotten

Daily Kos - 6 hours 35 min ago

Will Wilkinson/NY Times:

Has Trump Handed Democrats an Opening in Red America?

The G.O.P. has left soybean fields littered with $20 bills for enterprising Democratic presidential hopefuls to pick

Yet the travails of America’s struggling red regions, and practical ideas about might be done to alleviate them, are barely mentioned in right-leaning policy circles. For example, “The Once and Future Worker,” a widely discussed book by Oren Cass, a former economic policy adviser to Mitt Romney now at the Manhattan Institute, focuses on initiatives to expand employment and wages for American workers but largely neglects the changing geography of economic output and opportunity behind the woes of heartland workers.

Worse, the Republican Party under Mr. Trump has blundered into a positively anti-rural economic agenda, leaving the soybean fields littered with $20 bills for enterprising Democratic presidential hopefuls to pick up. The president’s nativist immigration agenda deprives farms and small factories of workers local economies can’t otherwise supply, while the administration’s latest budget proposal continues the Republican assault on the health care and social insurance programs rural populations increasingly rely on to survive.

Categories: Politics

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Numbers Gaming

Balloon Juice - 9 hours 2 sec ago

Categories: Politics

So We're Doctoring Videos Now, Are We?

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 23:30

So Republicans: it's a doctored video contest, where you do it out of spite to defraud and we do it to laugh AT you?

We win.

Open thread below...

Categories: Politics

Friday Night Open Thread- Strawberries and I Love This God Damned Duck

Balloon Juice - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 23:21

I went to a local farm today (Family Roots Farm) and got a bunch of freshly picked strawberries, and man, there is nothing better:

I cleaned them all and have them in the fridge (those I did not eat), and on Sunday I am going to make a run of jam. Because I am a fatbody, I am going to try to make a small batch with Stevia and see how I like it. The berries are so sweet I can’t imagine it won’t be delicious. I’d do it tomorrow, but Lily has her appointment in Pittsburgh, so by the time I get home tomorrow I won’t want to deal with it.

In other news, a fellow on the other side of town is completely redoing his garden- he’s getting old and does not want to deal with it anymore, so I got about 150 dug up dandelion daffodil bulbs, a bunch of ferns, and a bunch of other stuff, so we tilled the outside of my fence, put down landscape paper, planted all the bulbs, and mulched. Also on the outside of the fence I am putting a mess of black eyed susans I grew, as well as some more honeysuckle, and a bunch of day lilies and I dug up some of my perennials that spread like nuts, split em, and those are going there, too.

Getting a bunch of early blooms on the first run of tomatoes that I planted several weeks ago, while the second run is about a foot tall, and the third run is still only 3-5 inches big. Spotted a few broccoli crowns, the squash is going well, peppers are looking good, peas are up to about six inches and starting to climb the trellis, and it looks like next week I will have to construct the stick teepee trellises for the pole beans.

It also looks like it is going to be a banner year for sunflowers- I planted about 40 of them all around the place, the big honking 12′ tall ones. Last year they didn’t do much of anything, but this year they are looking like champs. Also, I am going to have my first run of blueberries this year and looks like the dozen or so blackberries I put in around the compost pile are really taking off. I swear I can sit and watch the apple and oak and maple trees grow this year they are getting so big- maybe the willow is teaching them something. So far this year, everything is going gangbusters on the garden front.

Speaking of honking, I am in love with Pearl and I told Tamara that we are making her an unofficial BJ mascot. I think when I revamp the store after the site relaunch, she is going to be featured on some items. I mean look at her:

I mean that’s a good god damned lucking duck, and she knows it. I swear she is smirking. A reliable source has informed me that she is possibly nesting with Mabel and Maddie tonight.

In other bird news, I got a lot of them and they are demanding as all hell. I am going to have to fill the hummingbird feeder tomorrow, I have so many of those dive bombing little bastards around. I can sit on the porch for an hour and not see one, and then one shows up at the feeder and six of the pricks show up out of nowhere and jump on the poor bastard. Looks like the battle of Midway around here.

Finally, I spoke with Sarah, the author of D-Day girls, and she would love to do an AMA. You all want to set a time? Like in a couple weeks so people can read the book first?

Categories: Politics