The Everything Else P&R

Do we really need another need topic? Sure, why not.

For political topics that don’t fit anywhere else. Good, bad, indifferent, international developments - I guess a potpourri of political topics.

This actually sounds like a good idea. It’s a proposal to fast track legislation that has broad bipartisan support that currently gets blocked. The key for getting this off the ground is for the next Speaker to support it, and to that end the members will not vote for a Speaker who doesn’t. (Remains to be seen if there can be enough Republicans willing to break the trumpian hold on their party.)

But only in 2018 can a phrase like this be written seriously:
A group of insurgent moderate Republicans

I don’t know if this is a ultimately good thing or not. It really depends on what compromise legislation they have in mind.

The nightmare scenario has to be this:

Dems win the House and take slim control in the Senate, whereupon Trump becomes amenable to some Dem legislative proposals. One example would be action on DACA to legitimize the dreamers. Recall that Trump’s cover for whacking DACA is that he wanted Congress to craft a real solution.

In a scenario like this, with that and other similar legislative proposals, it’s easy to see Trump’s popularity go up, with the result that his chances of re-election actually improve.

(I’m basically dismissing any chance of impeachment, because there’s no way the Dems have enough votes in the Senate to convict, and if you can’t convict, then the process rebounds against the interest of the impeaching party as it did when the Reps tried it against Clinton.)

“Met in a phone booth”. (Assuming we’re talking about congresscritters)

Sorry couldn’t resist.

Given our complicit media and oblivious American electorate, there’s some risk for that. But I can easily envision something like disaster relief (especially if it’s for a state like say CA) being held up or amended by those ‘freedom caucus’ whack jobs, so ethically it’s the right thing to do. That and the rehabilitation of the Republican party needs to start somewhere.

Ha!. No need to apologize there, it’s true there are no moderate Republicans. But relative to the rest of the party, there are at least some sane ones.

Aren’t Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Markowski of Alaska the ones that always get named the moderates. And that’s fair, in some ways they are. Like they’re both pro choice.

They get called ‘moderates’ because they like to object to extreme GOP proposals before they vote for them. Susan Collins has been running that grift for decades. And, no matter how pro-choice she says she is, she will absolutely confirm justice nominees who are certain votes to overturn or weaken Roe v Wade on the specious premise that she just doesn’t believe in her heart that they will because they demurred when asked the question.

If they were running an insurgency the GOP would be having trouble getting major legislation and nominations through the senate.

They may be moderates, but they aren’t insurgents.

This doesn’t really seem to fit in anywhere else, so why not here.

The comments on this Tweet are fucking hilarious:

I’m afraid to say the only UK person I follow is George Monbiot. He concerns himself with primarily environmental issues. He did link a few interesting articles - obesity study (which scientifically counters claims that fat people in the U.S. are fat because they lack personal responsibility, a favorite talking point with American conservatives), Romania’s efforts to protect a World Heritage Site but getting sued by a Canadian mining company for their efforts, and the college-students-want-censorship hysteria (shared by American opinion writers). Links to those articles below for anyone interested.

The only thing he linked on this particular issue as far as I could tell was this chap. The replies are not anti-semitic and instead accuse Lilico of being delusional and hysterical. Is Corbyn himself to blame here, or rather members of the Labor party? (Which as leader he owns responsibility I realize.)

(not related articles worth reading:

Obesity study:

I think Lilico (who is very much on the right) is wrong to be worried about this, at least in the short/medium term.

I’d be worried about seeing ideology being enforced much more in public hiring - think conservative views redefined as “hate speech” and then anyone who publically expresses those views being objected to when hired.
Leaders of private companies would need to toe the ideological line in their public statements if they wanted to see public contracts. I would also expect to see the failed press regulation attempts to be reborn as a way of censoring the conservative press - Corbyn is almost Trumplike in his disdain for the free press.

Is that tangential to PWK’s original post? (I can’t offer any kind of informed response here on your points, I don’t understand the issue as it stands in the UK.)

I tried to look more into the antisemitism issue within the Labor Party. This time I used JK Rowling.

She linked this

That twitter thread had a lot of push back, with someone linking to an article at a site called the Canary, which I gather is a left wing site (but it’s unreachable) and this

Just a caveat here: I tend to mistrust corporate media and my impression of Corbyn is that he’s left enough to be really disliked by not just the Tories but what what passes for mainstream media in the UK. It seems as if that includes the BBC, which gives me pause. I love watching BBC America news coverage (far better than anything we have, not to mention I can listen to British accents all day long.)

Viktor Orban is heinous.

Along those lines, Putin and the alliance with the far right:

And completely unrelated:

“But, but coal in the only economic opportunity for this region!!” bleat the concern trolls.

Here’s a former presidential candidate’s* plan for the area:

Investing for the Future

Coal is not the only resource mining and power plant communities possess. From Appalachia to the Uinta Basin, coal communities have rich human and cultural capital, diverse natural resources, and enormous economic potential. Clinton will partner with the local entrepreneurs, community leaders, foundations and labor groups working to unleash that potential, making federal investments that help people to find good jobs without having to move and build a strong, diversified economic future.

  • Build infrastructure for the 21st century.
  • Repurpose mine lands and power plant sites.
  • Expand broadband access.
  • Expand clean energy on federal lands and from existing dams.
  • Increase public investment in research and development.
  • Attract private investment through an improved New Markets Tax Credit and zero capital gains taxes.
  • Locally-Driven Economic Development

Every coal community is different and successful economic diversification and revitalization must be locally driven and comprehensive in scope. Promising community-based initiatives have begun to take shape, including SOAR in Southeastern Kentucky and Reconnect McDowell in West Virginia. Unfortunately most existing federal economic development programs available to coal communities are complex, fragmented, and overly prescriptive. Those that are the most successful, like the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), are severely underfunded. Clinton will improve coordination across existing federal programs and establish a Coal Communities Challenge Fund that awards new competitive grants in the following areas through qualified local entities with integrated economic development strategies:

Entrepreneurship and small business development.
Education and training. Job training programs are of little use if they are not paired with job creation.
Health and wellness. Building strong communities starts with supporting healthy families.
Arts and culture. A community’s artistic and cultural capital can be as important in attracting new jobs and investment as its roads, rail lines and bridges.
Housing. Attracting new jobs and investment to America’s coal communities will require upgrading local housing stock.

*Yes, I’m being passive-aggressive. That was HRC’s plan.

For what it’s worth, I like the proposal. I’m going to zero in on the big chunk of it, West Virginia. I’ve been there, I have relatives who live there, and it’s a product of its own marriage with coal as an industry over a long period of time.

Do a quick Google search on industries in West Virginia. I’ll wait. No, I take that back, I’ll spare you the waste of time. Of course the big ones are coal and mining. Followed closely by all the healthcare providers in the state. It’s depressing that NOBODY wants to be based there.

Number one on that bullet list above would be to provide a way to get companies to West Virginia. And part of that should be a requirement to employ West Virginian’s, or train them for placement.

HRC’s plan looks to push changes to entice companies (infrastructure, both physical and digital.) But I would add that they need more enticement for companies than just that. What about a federal tax rate reduction for companies there? HRC is trying to address that in the next to last bullet, but it needs to be front and center, because this bullet:

  • Locally-Driven Economic Development

… Is not going to happen. There isn’t much there beyond the support structure of the few big companies, towns and cities.

It really is a mess. There are some great people in that state and it is absolutely gorgeous. But the draw needs to be more than that to make a major change.

Both sides of my family are from West Virginia. The thing about West Virginians is that the are world champions at voting against their own interests. Some of my relations are fond of posting complaints on facebook about streams that have been polluted or towns destroyed by mining, demanding that something be done, but they vote for Republicans every fucking time, and they’re certain Obama was a Muslim born in Kenya.

Even when they vote for a Democrat, turns out he’s really a Republican.

Absolutely true. There are very few pockets where there is even a semblance of party parity in West Virginia.

To be honest, Scott, it makes me wonder how this plays out in other mostly red states if things get worse. An example was the recent state that had a pretty crazy vote for education since the situation had gotten so fucked up. Or when infrastructure costs have been deferred so long that there is a major roadway, tunnel, or bridge issue in the state.

Well, the south (of which WV is both an honorary member and one of the most extreme members) is the province if dead-endism.

I did your Google search. Biggest industries by employment in West Virginia in order are healthcare, retail, education, manufacturing, hospitality, construction, government, professional, and finally oil & gas. Biggest industry by export volume in West Virginia is chemical manufacturing. Biggest industry by GDP in West Virginia is government/government services. Other large industries in West Virginia include metals refining, aerospace and automobile manufacturing, advanced technology R&D, and biotech. Unemployment in West Virginia is pretty close to the national average, and it has the 3rd fastest growing state economy.

Yes, it’s a pretty blue collar state, and many of the industries in the state are known for having an adverse environmental impact. But it’s beautiful, with a bunch of burgeoning industries, cheap cost of living, a growing economy, and a decent investment in brain trust. It looks like it’s turning around, and HRC’s plan (of course she had a detailed plan to address the region’s woes) seems to fit right in to its current pace and needs.

Yeah, Oil/Gas/Mining is much more common in West Virginia than other states, but it’s definitely not the primary employer in the state. Not even close. The industry just doesn’t require that many jobs these days.

I appreciate the search. It sounds like you live there? My relatives are a bit spread out, Fayetteville and Charleston.

That relative graph though, good god that is skewed so bad. It even skews the graph for all of the south since there is so much of it tied up to things there in West Virginia.

There’s nothing wrong with being a blue collar state. But there is everything wrong if it’s tied to something that is in heavy usage decline, like coal. Here is a good, year old, article on how it’s declining. But to skip to the summary:

There are two questions we asked at the beginning of this brief: What happened to the coal industry? And what happened to coal jobs? The coal industry expanded dramatically from 1950 to 2010 and has declined moderately for the past few years, for the very clear and logical reasons articulated here.

What happened to coal jobs is even simpler. It is the same thing that happened throughout much of the country — productivity gains led to fewer workers needed to produce the same output.

An additional force hurt coal employment — regional competition between the East and the West. The labor-lean West has taken significant market share from the labor-intensive East. The result is that far fewer miners are needed.

Some policies have been proposed to bring back coal jobs. One is to cut environmental regulations, both on coal and natural gas production. But think about that move — it will probably accelerate the decline of coal, as natural gas makes further inroads into the market.

Eliminating regulation can have many consequences. Weakening regulation on railroads in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in job losses in Eastern coal.

What is clear from this discussion is that environmental regulations did not kill coal. Progress is the culprit.

And this is where I feel for West Virginia. It needs a shift, now. It needs its next big thing, now. Surely, they aren’t alone among the South needing to find its way, but they have a pretty significant change they need to plan out.

You guys are both pointing out a truth, that Coal/Mining isn’t the only big source of jobs there anymore. But my point is that, nothing big came in to fill that gap. Healthcare? Utilities? Retail? Education? For all four of those to work as employers, there needs to be something that drives the economy to them. People living there, people needing jobs there, people needing housing there, etc.

Oh, Canada. American news got you down with its non-stop rampages, political corruption, and hate crimes? Take a break from the onslaught and have a chuckle with some innocent Canadian shenannigans.

A 45 second clip, filmed on a rear-facing dashcam, shows the unidentified driver veering into the kerb on a rainy day to drench pedestrians at least three times. At the very end of the clip , the company’s logo is clearly seen on the side of the vehicle.

I’m feeling better already.

And it wouldn’t be Canada without the following:

The video has been viewed over 750,000 times, and Black & McDonald subsequently made an apology for their driver’s behaviour on its Facebook page.

It says: "We apologise to everyone impacted by the recent incident in Ottawa of unacceptable driving by one of our van drivers…