If the AHCA passes, a lot of people will lose health insurance, but I doubt it’ll be 23 million. For one thing, passage of that bill would spur blue states to quickly implement their own statewide systems. This has serious problems b/c of things like balanced budget constraints but it’s better than nothing. California already has a proposal for single-payer care, SB 567, which has already passed the Senate and is now before the Assembly. Passage of TrumpCare would undoubtedly spur its passage, and I doubt the Golden State would be the only state to take this step. Most blue states would implement something (if not all of them full single-payer), and a few other states with split legislatures and governors, like Nevada and Montana, probably also would. Hell, block-granting Medicaid could even work to the advantage of this effort as a source of funding for everyone beside Medicare recipients.

Admittedly, it is going to be shitty for everybody else, though the people worst hit are going to be white folks in states like West Virginia and Kentucky. People in southern states that never expanded Medicaid aren’t going to feel the loss of something they never had. Life will go on. But poor white people in Appalachia are going to get absolutely hammered, and those Republican-dominated states aren’t going to do shit to help out their constituents. I do feel sorry for the more enlightened people in those areas, which I know exist. I wish I could feel sorry for the Trumpian majorities, but they’ve let it be abundantly known that a culture war against people they’ve never met and are never going to is more important than their own livelihood or that of anyone who differs slightly from them, so let them use spiritual healing to cure cancer, I suppose. Nothing to be done about it.

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Don’t have time to get into it today so I’ll just refer you to Sargent.

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I feel like Theresa May’s big mistake was believing all the spin about political realignment that her own shop was putting out, about how the Tories were going to become the party of the working class too, all that stuff. Her gamble at least seemed like it was a reasonable bet, but then again, this is the sort of thing that expert politicians should be able to sense–to separate the signal from the noise, to use a cliche. She’ll likely still find herself PM at the end of it, but we now know that she’s hardly an expert on anything, and frankly, it doesn’t take much of an expert to see how a party of mainly old people wasn’t much going to like the “dementia tax” idea. May so desperately wants to be the next Thatcher, but after this she’ll end up being known at best as the chief flunky of Donald Trump. Amazing to think that Tony Blair might wind up as the more dignified figure at the end of all this, but it could well be.

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I’ll heartily second Atrios here. Pursuing well-off white suburbanites is one of those ideas that never pans out but never goes away. Democrats and their consultants see people who are well educated (true), often don’t have iron-clad culture warrior stances on the issues (also true) and who have some discomfort with the religious-populist orientation of the GOP (true again). Problem is that most of these folks (though certainly not all!) have been acculturated into a sort of aggressive selfishness in which social concerns are seen as “not their problem” at best, and certainly less important than paying as close to no taxes as is humanly possible. Obviously you tailor different messages for different audiences but in terms of reaching people whose essential attitude is “not giving a fuck about anything going on beyond their front yard,” it’s really hard to see how Democrats can edge out Republicans with this group. And while I’m not particularly charitable to people who have known nothing but prosperity for decades but whine endlessly about having to give anything back or think of anything that modestly inconveniences them as the worst thing in all of history, the real problem is a media and a society who have encouraged and validated these attitudes for decades. Politicians have done this as well, of course.

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Not very many people ever go to Pittsburgh–not a knock, but it doesn’t tend to rate high on many peoples’ vacation lists in spite of the awesomeness of the Andy Warhol Museum, so it’s unsurprising it’s so persistently misrepresented in the media and public debate. I mean, Trump doesn’t know anything about anything, but most people still talk about the place based on what they imagine it was like in the ’50s. I, however, know it pretty well. I have lots of family all over the area and I’ve been there many times. Pittsburgh is a little old school in some ways–unlike many cities it resisted the urge to “beautify” its older neighborhoods, so you can walk around a lot of places largely unchanged since the 1920s or earlier, which is unusual and pretty cool. But Pittsburgh itself isn’t very rust belt-y, nor is it notably full of Archie Bunker types. The presence of a couple of major universities and medical centers has bred the same sort of recognizable creative class phenomenon you see all over big cities, though compared to San Francisco the gentrification factor is small indeed. That might have something to do with its geographic location (closer to Akron than to NYC in more ways than one), unfavorable weather, and deficit of transit options. Still, it’s really not all that much of an outlier compared to other big cities in most ways, and certainly not some sort of Happy Days haven.

Now, having said that, quite a lot of the surrounding areas of Pittsburgh are like what people think of Pittsburgh as being like: depressed towns full of rusting plants and “white ethnics” who are angry and love Trump and think he’s going to start the old mills up again. I suppose in some sense you can label the whole area as “Pittsburgh” the way that people who live forty miles away from downtown Chicago say they’re from Chicago, though in this case you’re lumping in a lot of places that don’t think of themselves as adjuncts to Pittsburgh and treasure their local identities. And, at any rate, the lifeblood of the area wasn’t ever dirty energy but steel, the production of which certainly caused some pollution back in the day, but which isn’t really the subject at hand. Coal was only useful inasmuch as it could be burned in furnaces to make steel. Bringing back coal jobs (assuming this could even be achieved) isn’t going to help the areas around Pittsburgh. But I bet that pulling us out of NAFTA would do it!

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Saw that Bob Dylan accepted his Nobel Prize. This is pretty cool:

Sadly, it’s just about as relevant as ever.

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Here’s a post about some airports I’ve been to:

  • Hippest: Yekaterinburg Koltsovo, Russia. Who would have guessed? Check it out, though. Yekaterinburg is sort of like Russia’s Portland, coolness situated inside a bunch of gray Soviet buildings. The airport matches this completely. Also, they have the most useless airline rail link that literally only runs twice a day. Why bother? Cabs are super cheap.
  • Underrated: Oakland International. If you have the option between Oakland and SFO, SFO is a perfectly fine option but Oakland is always quicker to navigate and get through, and it’s about the same amount of time to downtown SF. I’m also partial to the Silver Dragon Cafe if you need to eat.
  • Boringest: Louis Armstrong International, New Orleans. A bland introduction to a fascinating city. Also, never rent a SUV to get around there. Made that mistake once and spent more on parking than for a vehicle uniquely unsuited to narrow streets.
  • Tackiest: Miami International. Because of course. Though they do have The Counter in the terminal.
  • Most Useless Pair: Green Bay/Outagomie County, Wisconsin. That’s right, two separate airports for a small/mid-sized city, 20 minutes apart. No idea why but I suspect pork barrel politics is the reason.
  • Most Unbearable: London Heathrow. Kind of the same issues as all European airports, only the biggest and most extreme and therefore the worst. Also delays. Ugh.
  • Smoothest Security Procedures: I’ll give this a tie between all the Russian airports I’ve been to. I assume this is largely because of all sorts of profiling and other privacy-shredding security state shit going on behind the scenes, but even though there are more security layers than, say, an American airport, I’ve always breezed right through in an easy and dignified manner, even when it’s busy. I don’t know how they do it.
  • Worst Security Procedures: How about every American and UK airport? It’s sort of amazing how the UK has fully adopted and expanded upon security theater techniques from the US without seemingly improving security. Last time I was there (Manchester Airport two months back, to be specific) they were insisting that deodorant sticks qualified as liquids (!) and all sorts of other inane things that security personnel constantly repeated. In spite of this, half the line had to have their bags searched because of all the overcomplicated nonsense. At any rate, American security is nearly as bad, which is why Precheck is really a necessity.
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I was thinking today about that time when Republicans were like, “Hey, you said Comey sucks liberals, so shut up!” Which was a weird thing to say considering that the liberal position was that Comey did indeed suck, but that Trump firing him in the middle of an investigation was wrong. It’s fair enough to ding a party for hating the filibuster in power but loving it in opposition as being hypocritical (though in this case both sides literally do do it), though this wasn’t even really hypocrisy, it was just something that could be sold to the rubes as hypocrisy and that was enough. This is a pretty common feature of Republican discourse, in which they find some quote or some old position some Democrat held and then use that as an excuse to just shut down the conversation. I’m sure many recall that after Antonin Scalia died, Mitch McConnell found a Chuck Schumer quote from 2007 that seemed to say what he wanted it to say, so that meant no new SCOTUS justice apparently until a Republican won. This tendency can’t be blamed on Trump exactly (though he does use it), but rather on the bad faith of the entire right toward the left. Even if Schumer hadn’t said anything (which would have been preferable as the Schumer quote was the sort of thing you want to leave as subtext), it’s not like McConnell would have just conceded the point. This is why Obama’s strategy of debating policy positions Republicans held until 5 minutes ago just didn’t work. You can’t have a debate when one side is not arguing in good faith.

I’ll admit that I’ve fully embraced fatalism when it comes to dealing with Republicans as partners in maintaining democracy. I don’t really see the case for doing otherwise, and it really must be exhausting for those who haven’t embraced this particular point of view. I understand why they haven’t, because the implications of such fatalism are radical. But increasingly I don’t think there’s any real alternative to radical change of some form or other. I don’t necessarily think violence and bloodshed are inevitable, but which form it takes is the only real debate left. The fever’s never going to break, folks.

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