November 10, 2012

A stillborn science?

One more thought about last week's elections occurred to me. To wit, the rape boys lost. That is to say, the two candidates who spoke glibly about the political science of right wing gynecology did not fare well with voters, many of whom no doubt were of the female persuasion. This includes both those of  the "legitimate rape" and the "God's will" school of conservative thought on the issue. It would seem that on a national scale at least, right wing gynecology, legitimate or otherwise, might be a non-starter.

November 09, 2012

When bubbles bust

I've been meaning to post something for a day or so but am just getting around to it. Here are a few random postmortem election thoughts.

BUBBLELAND.  Earlier this week, the blog Daily Kos came up with an impressive list of right wing pundits who made bad predictions about the presidential election. What's up with that? Part of it might have to do with living in a bubble where all the information you take in comes from people who share your ideological biases. Two interesting articles recently came out on how the right wing noise machine blew it. The first is from Slate and the second is from the Atlantic. It's kind of like what happened with the Bush administration in Iraq: they took their own propaganda as if it was real intelligence.

DEMOGRAPHY'S UPS AND DOWNS. Shortly after the election, Politico posted this feature about the demographic trends working against the Republican Party on a nationwide basis. Ironically, those same trends are working the other way in WV, which has a bit of a surplus of grumpy old white guys. The "war on coal" hissy fit adds to the cauldron.

SPEAKING OF COAL. I had a pre-election conversation with someone who knows more about the industry than anyone I know. He wondered whether an Obama victory would mean a toning down of the rhetoric as people figured out the hissy fit wasn't working. However, the hissy fit did work at the state level, although I'm not sure how long that dog will hunt.

SPEAKING OF WEST VIRGINIA, a friend of mine observed yesterday that 2012 was WV's 2010.

MORE ABSENTEE OWNERSHIP. Outsiders have owned most of West Virginia for over a century and  are still acquiring real estate, so I guess it's no surprise that they now own the state attorney general's office.


November 07, 2012

Another slow news day

Golly, why does everybody look sleepy today?

There's a lot I could say post election but I'll just focus on one thing today: yesterday's vote means that the Affordable Care Act will survive. But it also means that the fight to expand coverage is going to take place at the state level.

One result of the US Supreme Court decision on the law was the ability of states to choose whether or not to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level in 2014. The law as passed by Congress basically required states to do it or lose all Medicaid funding.

This means that states ruled by people who hate poor people, such as West Virginia seems to be some days,  are going to be reluctant to do so. It will take a huge effort, and lots of people power, to make that happen. But it will mean health care for well over 100,000 low income working West Virginians and for millions of others around the country.

Gird up thy loins...

ONE MORE THING. I had already posted yesterday's blog when I saw these pre-election reflections on the politics of coal by Ken Ward at Coal Tattoo. I'm wondering whether the ruling class hissy fit which blames a certain black guy in the White House and the EPA for all the ills of the world will continue unabated or will they figure out it isn't working very well. I guess the smart money is on the hissy fit.


November 06, 2012

Election days

Here's a look at Goat Rope posts from previous election days, beginning with 2006, which was a big one for WV.

Here's the post from the 2008 general election.

And here's 2010.

As for this time around, all I can say is that the future of a lot of programs and policies is at stake, all the way up and down the ticket.

To quote Dylan, "Things are gonna get interesting right about now." Dammit.

November 05, 2012

Good point

We hear a whole lot in this political season about President Obama's "War on Coal," which is basically a cynical way to assign the blame for the industry's woes, many of which are due to basic market forces, on a person who just happens not to be white. The specific political subtext in all this is the assumption that if the president's opponent wins, everything will be all good here all the time.

Meanwhile, nobody around here seems to have noticed that programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which Romeny/Ryan have targeted for gutting, have an even bigger impact on the state's economy than the coal industry.

The folks at the WV Center on Budget and Policy point out here that 2011 approximately $12.7 billion or 20.5 percent of the state’s $62 billion in personal income came from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The U.S. average was 12.8 percent...

For comparison, only 5.5 percent or $3.4 billion of personal income in 2011 was derived from coal mining and natural gas extraction – two of the largest industries in the state.
I don't mean to belittle the economic hardships in the coalfields. These need to be faced in a proactive way rather than used to score dubious political points. But imagine how bad things would look in places like southern West Virginia if drastic cuts to the bedrock safety net--Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid--went hand in hand with market-driven declines in mining.


A TALE OF TWO STORMS. Krugman does a heckuva job contrasting Katrina and Sandy.

IT'S ALREADY WORKING. Here's a cheer for the Affordable Care Act.