Thursday, April 30, 2015

In this corner, the Kochtopus; in the other corner, the challenger, the Pope

The Koch boys and their fossil fools are ramping up to take on the Pope over what does not exist in Kochtopia: human-driven climate change. In the process, the oily guys are branding themselves as the true saviors of the masses. (Remember the tobacco execs? Same drill.)

Here are snippets from Steve Benen's post at The Maddow Blog.

... the politics of climate denial are getting a little tricky. In a few months, this will get a little more complicated.

In September, at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the pope will deliver an address to a joint session of Congress. How likely is it that Francis will address the climate crisis Boehner and his caucus choose to ignore? The odds are about 100%.

"I think Boehner was out of his mind to invite the pope to speak to Congress," the Rev. Thomas Reese, an analyst at the National Catholic Reporter, told the Times. "Can you imagine what the Republicans will do when he says, ‘You’ve got to do something about global warming’?"

The Kochtopus is already on the attack.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the pope’s activism is "alarming some conservatives in the United States who are loath to see the Catholic Church reposition itself as a mighty voice in a cause they do not believe in."

In the United States, the encyclical will be accompanied by a 12-week campaign, now being prepared with the participation of some Catholic bishops, to raise the issue of climate change and environmental stewardship in sermons, homilies, news media interviews and letters to newspaper editors, said Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant in Washington.

But the effort is already angering a number of American conservatives, among them members of the Heartland Institute, a libertarian group partly funded by the Charles G. Koch Foundation, run by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers, who oppose climate policy.

While Koch-financed operations usually aren’t shy about taking the offensive against perceived opponents, the far-right Heartland Institute seems to realize attacking the pope is a little more complicated.

In a statement, the group’s president said he fears the "Holy Father is being misled," despite Francis’ heart being "in the right place."

Misled? And here I thought the Pope took his marching orders from God.

That was not entirely facetious. When the Pope takes the stand it becomes a matter of morality. Here is a snippet from Rebecca Leber's article in The New Republic (cited by Benen).

Unlike the usual discussions of climate change as an economic and scientific issue, Francis conveys it as a moral cause. His past comments—that it "is man who has slapped nature in the face"—frame the issue in vivid and urgent terms. He's presented the fossil fuel industry with a challenge. Though they have a well-worn playbook for countering the economic, political, and scientific need for climate change action, industry is in relatively new territory with religion.

Do the Kochs and friends really want to get into it with THE POPE?

Why global warming is dangerous to the aquatic food chain in Antarctica

Didn't know this. As the planet warms, gigantic icebergs break off the Antarctic ice sheets. These icebergs run a thousand or more feet deep. As they move away from the sheet, due to their massive size and depth, they scrub the ocean floor of sea life.

That's the short story. Here is science in a snippet - a quote from Current Biology reprinted by Daily Kos.

Life on Antarctica’s coastal seabed rollercoasters between food-rich, open-water, iceberg-scoured summers and food-sparse winters, when the sea surface freezes into ‘fast-ice’, locking up icebergs, reducing their seabed collisions (scouring). In the last half century, there have been massive losses of winter sea ice along the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as retreat of glaciers and disintegration of ice shelves coincident with rapid recent regional warming [1] . More calving from glaciers and ice shelves coupled with less winter ice should increase scouring of the seabed — which is where most Antarctic species live (http//www.SCAR-MarBIN.be). Polar benthos are considered highly sensitive to change, slow growing and all endemic. However, the only published effect of increased scouring on benthos has been increased mortality of the pioneer species Fenstrulina rugula, adjacent to Rothera Research station, West Antarctic Peninsula [2] (Supplemental information; Figure S1 ). It is likely that the recent increase in mortality in this species reflects the mortality of other species on hard substrata. A 2013 survey dive at a nearby locality (Lagoon Island) revealed large areas where no live mega- or macro-fauna could be found, the first time this has been observed there despite being regularly visited by scientific divers since 1997. Here, we report the first assemblage level changes coincident with increased scouring.

For the rest of the story, with photos, see the report in Daily Kos.

Oh, man. It just occurred to me. The GOPlins have an answer. Send a fleet of A-10s to blow those nasty icebergs to hell. (Got to stop writing this stuff at night.)

Risk estimate of CAP water shortage increased

Here is the opener of the report from Tony Davis at the Daily Star.

The federal government ratcheted up its risk estimates for Central Arizona Project shortages on Wednesday.

The odds of a shortage in water deliveries to Arizona and other Lower Colorado River Basin states in 2016 are now 33 percent, up from 21 percent as predicted in January, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said.

By 2017, the odds rise to 75 percent, compared to a January prediction of 54 percent.

The bureau raised the odds of shortages three days after Lake Mead on the Colorado River hit another record low level — the third time that’s happened since 2010.

Snowpack levels in the Colorado River’s Upper Basin are significantly lower now than in January, which reduces runoff into the river and into Lake Powell, which releases water to Lake Mead at the Nevada border. Water for the CAP canal system is stored in Lake Mead.

If there is a shortage next year, it would reduce total CAP deliveries 320,000 acre-feet, or 20 percent. Seventeen irrigation districts would get less water. There would be no water delivered to the state to recharge into the ground as a set-aside for future shortages. Cities and Indian tribes probably wouldn’t lose CAP water for at least five years.

Now, about those Rosemont promises for recharging OUR groundwater with CAP water?

crAZy seeks waiver from Homeland Security on Real ID drivers licenses. Yes, but ...

If you read the fine print (in the report in the Daily Star), you will see that the author of the bill enabling AZ to create drivers licenses that comply with federal standards does not expect the waiver to be granted. So why request it? It was one of the hoops (aka amendments) that AZ Sen. Bob Worsley had to accept in order to get the bill passed. Once DHS denies the waiver, as it has done for other states, then ADOT can proceed with creating the Real ID licenses.

Ya know, though, let me dream a bit. It would be much more interesting from a blogging point of view if DHS actually granted the waiver. AZ would not have to issue secure drivers licenses. Then some number of AZ citizens would be effectively on a do-not-fly list. That is, unless they had a passport. That list could be substantial and could include those of the GOPlin tribe who think the U. S. is exceptional and that there is no need to travel outside the US. So the very people objecting to Real ID, lacking a passport, would find themselves suffering self-inflicted harm. Delicious.

OK. Won't happen. But I can dream.

Bernie Sanders runs for President: he's running for a cause, not an office

The whole point of his running is to force Hillary Clinton, the presumed Dem party nominee, to (1) take stands on progressive issues and (2) come to the campaign with concrete plans for addressing those issues. So far, Sanders' and fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren's pushes on things like income inequality and campaign finance have gotten lots of (1) but Clinton has yet to follow through with (2).

Here is the story from Al Jazeera. See also AZBlueMeanie's recap of various opinion pieces on what Sanders' candidacy is about.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SCOTUS expected Congress to fix voting rights act. Really?

That's what Steve Benen writes at MSNBC/Rachel Maddow Show/The Maddow Blog.

It was just last month when much of the nation’s attention turned to Selma, Alabama, where Americans saw former President George W. Bush stand and applaud a call for Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act with a bipartisan bill. Many wondered if, maybe sometime soon, Congress’ Republican majority might agree to tackle the issue.

Voting-rights advocates probably shouldn’t hold their breath. Soon after the event honoring those who marched at the Edmund Pettus Bridge a half-century ago, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) dismissed the very idea of working on the issue. "I think Eric Holder and this administration have trumped up and created an issue where there really isn’t one," the Texas Republican said.

Asked if Congress should repair the Voting Rights Act formula struck down by the Supreme Court, Cornyn replied, simply, "No."

The Supreme Court is now batting 0 for 2. Twice they have made a ruling expecting Congress to fix something - first Citizens United and then the voting rights act. In both cases, the expectation was in error.

What’s more, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the VRA came with a call from the majority justices for lawmakers to craft a new formula for federal scrutiny. There was, in other words, an expectation that Congress, which reauthorized the VRA repeatedly and easily over the decades, would respond to the court ruling with a revised policy.

And yet, here are leading Senate Republicans effectively responding, two years later, "Nah, let’s not bother to do anything at all."

Maybe the next time SCOTUS rules it will not embarrass itself further with a silly statement about Congress fixing anything.

Ally Miller watch: Miller chief-of-staff rumored to run against Ray Carroll

Again? The Tea Potty queen is determined to unseat Ray Carroll who may be at the very top of her s*#t list. The last time the Potty within the GOParty tried that they ran Sean Collins (who Scriber found trying to appropriate Ron Barber's sign hardware after Barber's victory over Jesse Kelly - Scriber got the hardware, BTW). The Rosemont folks would have loved Collins given Ray Carroll's consistent opposition to the proposed mine.

But I digress. Miller's list is a long one. Here is a snippet from Jim Nintzel's report.

... Miller’s Enemies List is a long one that includes Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, the three Democrats on the Pima County Board of Supervisors, several of her former District 1 staffers, many of the reporters who have covered her at the Arizona Daily Star, your humble Skinny scribe, retired schoolteacher/furniture store owner Bob Dorson, The Loop bike path and—if her rabid opposition to the Pima County Animal Care Center expansion project last year is any indication—stray puppies and kittens. It might be shorter to catalog her "Friends List."

If anyone gets a photo of Miller kicking a stray puppy, send it and Scriber will publish it. Should I assume, given Nintzel's report, that Jeannie Davis, the subject of the rumor, might kick kittens?

Davis, who came on as Miller’s chief of staff about a year ago, is also no fan of Carroll. In 2012, she ran the campaign of Republican Sean Collins, who tried to unseat Carroll with a Tea Party-ish campaign that complained, among other things, that Carroll opposed the Rosemont Mine and supported putting water stations in the desert to prevent migrants from dying of thirst. Apparently, the pro-death-to-migrants platform isn’t all that popular, as Carroll won that GOP primary race with 57 percent of the vote.

Apparently a majority of local GOP types are not enamored with Rosemont. I really doubt Miller's surrogate would fare any better than Collins. But an attempt would be entertaining.

Arpaio watch: Attorney quits for ethical reasons

Here is the story in the Daily Star.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Il Duce stands by his man ...

... and, we suppose, given the previous endorsement, vice versa. Here is the musical version of the story.

Off stage, Tammy sings:

Sometimes its hard to be a Duce

Giving all your love to just one man

You'll have bad times

And he'll have good times

Doing things that you don't understand

But if you love him you'll forgive him

Even though he's hard to understand

And if you love him

Oh be proud of him

'Cause after all he's just a man

Stand by your man

The Sheriff of Maricopa and Il Duce respond. Here is the duet.

Arpaio:

When the night has come

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we'll see

No I won't be afraid

Oh, I won't be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

Il Duce:

So darling, darling

Stand by me, oh stand by me

Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me

Oh stand by me, oh won't you stand now, stand

Stand by me

The nonmusical version of the story is in this morning's Daily Star.

Pope Francis hosts climate conference, prepares encyclical

Here is a review from AZBlueMeanie at B4AZ (citing a Washington Post article and more). The Pope is one serious dude about our care of the planet (or lack of it).

Global inequality and the destruction of the environment "are the greatest threats we face as a human family today," Cardinal Peter Turkson, a Vatican official who helped write the first draft of the encyclical, said in a March lecture seen as a preview of the document. The pope, Turkson said, "is not making some political comment about the relative merits of capitalism and communism. . . . he is pointing to the ominous signs in nature that suggest that humanity may now have tilled too much and kept too little. "

After decades of secular campaigns that failed to move the needle significantly, environmentalists are optimistic about the potential of having religious groups more fully on board in combatting global warming. They have spent years courting skeptical evangelicals, many of whom have begun using the term "creation care."

For those concerned with messaging, consider the potential of "creation care" as a new slant on man's biblical charge, our "dominion" over all living things.

These days we are only mildly surprised when our President comes under attack by conservatives on ... you name the issue. Foreign policy: remember the letter authored by the 47% of Senators? Not in the news any more. Climate change: remember Inhofe's snowball on the floor of the Senate? Not in the news any more (Obama's speech the other night notwithstanding). So, we should not be much surprised when the conservatives inside and outside the Catholic church attack the Pope for his courageous stand on the environment. It has already started.

How strongly will he make the case that humans are causing global warming – a case that many Republicans and many conservative Christians don’t buy, think is dangerous to the free market and don’t think a priest – even a pope – is qualified to make?

We should all get behind this guy.

Dick Cheney really was the worst president

So argues John Nichols at The Nation. It starts with one of President Obama's zingers delivered in his speech to the White House Correspondents Association dinner.

... once in a great while a great moment occurs.

President Obama had one Saturday night, when he ruminated momentarily on the crude excesses of a certain former vice president.

"A few weeks ago Dick Cheney said he thinks I'm the worst president of his lifetime, which is interesting, because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime," mused Obama.

...

While there was no question that the American people were tired of Bush [in 2008], they were absolutely finished with Cheney—whose approval rating dropped to just 13 percent at the end of a tenure characterized by endless wars, neglected disasters, the collapse of the global economy and the bailout of Cheney's banking buddies.

Typically, Cheney blamed everyone but himself.

In particular, Cheney blamed Obama for not immediately cleaning up the mess he and Bush had made of just about everything.

The former vice president has since 2008 (when, notably, his fellow partisans failed to invite him to that year's Republican National Convention) made it his immediate and ceaseless mission to gripe about the succeeding administration. So it came as no great surprise when he told Playboy, "I look at Barack Obama and I see the worst president in my lifetime, without question—and that's saying something."

What did come as something of a surprise—and a delightful one at that—was Obama's decision to parry the former vice president's thrust with a devastating one-liner that had the advantage of being true.

Did Dubya criticize President Obama on foreign policy?

There are different hearsay accounts coming from attendees at a GOPlin fundraiser at which Bush spoke.

Yes, he did, sort of. Here is Steve Benen's take on it at MSNBC/Rachel Maddow Show.

No, he did not, kind of. Here is ex press guy Ari Fleischer defending Shrub at CNN.com.

Scriber sez: Bush didn't exactly damn with faint praise. He just second-guessed Obama on Iraq and Iran. And Bush is the guy who left the legacy of ruined Middle East policy.

Benen offers some points to keep in mind while this story blows over.

... so long as the former president is dipping his toes back into the public debate, let’s keep a few pertinent details in mind:

1. Presidents who launch two massive wars that destabilized the entire Middle East probably shouldn’t warn about his successor making the region "chaotic."

2. When U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq, it was under the terms of a Status of Forces Agreement negotiated by George W. Bush.

3. Bush may not like the idea of a nuclear agreement with Iran, but President Obama is now making up for the fact that Bush could have struck a better deal but failed to even try, and Iran’s nuclear capabilities grew far more serious – without consequence – on Bush’s watch.

Monday, April 27, 2015

How "power to the people" has given way to "power without the people"

Robert Reich describes a pervasive sense of powerlessness. Powerless in the companies that employ us. Powerless in the face of consolidated businesses that supply our goods and services. And powerless inside a megalithic political party.

The companies we work for, the businesses we buy from, and the political system we participate in all seem to have grown less accountable. I hear it over and over: They don’t care; our voices don’t count.

A large part of the reason is we have fewer choices than we used to have. In almost every area of our lives, it’s now take it or leave it.

...

Our economy and society depend on most people feeling the system is working for them.

But a growing sense of powerlessness in all aspects of our lives – as workers, consumers, and voters – is convincing most people the system is working only for those at the top.

Read Reich's blog for examples.

Then skip to the cartoons and the dog on wheels for your AM shot of humor.

Economic inequality watch: family income and attitudes toward water conservation

NY Times reports on how the restrictions on water reflect the economic divide separating communities. (But note the caveat in the next Scriber post.

Number of lawyers predicts number of suicides by hanging

Therefore, one might reason, reducing the number of lawyers would reduce the number of suicides - just as Shakespeare wrote (quote from enotes.com).

All: God save your majesty!

Cade: I thank you, good people—there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

Dick: The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

Cade: Nay, that I mean to do.

Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2, 71–78

I spent 35 years in the academic trenches trying to teach college sophomores that correlation does not imply causation. The relation between number of lawyers and number of suicides is a correlation. On the scale of 0.00 to 1.00, the actual correlation is extremely high and statistically reliable: r = 0.99.

But hold on: before you set out to implement Dick's suggestion, consider that all kinds of things are correlated with all kinds of other things. Here is a great article in Vox.com reporting on research from Tyler Vigen showing many instances of near perfect correlations between things that are not causally connected.

Proving causality must meet a higher standard than demonstrating correlation. For A to cause B: (1) A and B are correlated, (2) A precedes B, and (3) all other causes of B are eliminated. Vigen's examples all meet (1), and maybe (2), but never (3). Nevertheless, it's a fun read with cool graphs.

How well did I succeed with my students? Well, that's another story for another day.

I do wish I had had Vigen's graphs to make the point.

Now, if you've gotten this far, you might ask what all this has to do with politics. AZBlueMeanie at B4AZ accuses the media of confusing correlation with causation when it comes to reporting on the Clintons. Earning money from speaking engagements might be correlated with, but not as cause of, for example, Russians controlling US uranium. Here is a snippet from BlueMeanie.

UPDATE: During an interview on Fox News Sunday about his book, "Clinton Cash," Schweizer suggested that Hillary Clinton approved a deal that eventually allowed the Russian government to control some U.S. uranium mines. Chris Wallace Grills Author Of ‘Clinton Cash’: ‘You Don’t Have A Single Piece Of Evidence’:

But host Chris Wallace noted that the deal was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a panel of nine different federal agencies.

"It’s not just the State Department," Wallace explained. "It’s nine separate agencies… There is no hard evidence — and you don’t cite any in the book — that Hillary Clinton took direct action, was involved in any way in approving, as one nine agencies, the sale of the company."

* * *

"You don’t have a single piece of evidence that she was involved in this deal, that she sent a memo to the State Department person that was on this committee and said, ‘Hey, we want to approve the uranium sale,’" Wallace pressed.

But that doesn't stop the media machine from echoing Clinton correlations.

Why the estate tax repeal sucks

There are wheels within wheels. Bob Lord at B4AZ explains how repeal of the estate tax would be a huge boondoggle benefitting children of the ultra-wealthy with a huge income tax break. I'll bet you did not know that income inequality is a heritable disease.

What happens when dogs discover wheels

Here is a great post from Dylan Smith on Facebook. This dog skateboards! Great video.

Cartoons to start your week

Laughing might be your best defense against crying. Here are stimuli from AZBlueMeanie at B4AZ.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

In Case You Missed It: Obama turns up the heat under GOP climate deniers

Here, from motherjones.com, is a short piece describing just one part of President Obama's talk at the White House Corespondent Association dinner last night in which he skewers climate change deniers - with the aid of an anger translator. Really funny. Check out the video clip.

Also from motherjones.com, here is the link to the entire speech.

Water level in Lake Mead is at all time low - and it may get worse

Here is a report from The Republic/azcentral.com.

Point 1: It's just a matter of time ...

The water level at Lake Mead, which stores Colorado River water for Western states and Mexico, is expected to hit a record low this weekend and continue to dive this summer.

Officials project the lake to stand at 1,080 feet Sunday and ultimately sink to 1073.03 feet by the end of this June before recovering just enough to steer clear of a 2016 Colorado River shortage declaration — by less than 7 feet.

Last year, the lake's lowest point was 1,080.19 feet in August.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation would announce a 2016 shortage this August if it projects that Lake Mead won't rise above 1,075 feet by January. Assessments are updated in the middle of every month.

There is a 21 percent chance of that happening, but the odds increase to 54 percent for 2017, said Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the bureau.

Point 2: ... before there is more pumping of ground water.

Arizona has banked water and enacted regulations to protect residents in major metro areas from draconian cuts if the shortage is declared, but agriculture would take a 50 percent cut from the Central Arizona Project, which brings Colorado River water to the state.

Farmers using CAP water have known that in a few decades they will have to contract or evolve regardless of a shortage because their rights to CAP water end in 2030. The possible shortage has just hastened that reality, said Theodore Cooke, deputy general manager of finance and administration at the CAP.

Such farmers would then have to rely more heavily on pumping groundwater.

And to add to this, we in GV really want the Rosemont mine? In exchange for precious ground water, Rosemont (now HudBay) is giving us CAP water that may very well not exist to give away.

More Snow on Mount Arpaio

For years (literally), Stephen Lemons from Phoenix New Times has been reporting on misdeeds of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office - aka Joe Arpaio. Arpaio and his chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, revealed some interesting things in the courtroom presided over by federal judge Murray Snow. In the latest installment, Lemons nominates his favorite quote from Sheridan:

Here's my pick for the most ridiculous quote from MCSO Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan's testimony in federal court Friday, during day four of his and Sheriff Joe Arpaio's civil contempt trial in downtown Phoenix:

[In response to questioning by Snow:] "It depends on how you define, `investigated your wife,'" said Sheridan, his face redder than a pack of Twizzlers.

Such investigations (yes, there have been more) have cost the taxpayers millions (we think - hard to tell given MCSO's practices).

Scriber will track this one for a while.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's snowing on Joe Arpaio in a hot courtroom drama

That is, Judge Murray Snow got Arpaio to admit all kinds of wrong-doing. Here is the deep background from Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times. This is a must read for the investigative reporting that you won't see in your local paper.

GOP primary has begun. The catch? The 10 guys in the audience might end up controlling America.

These (mostly old, mostly white, horrendously rich, rabidly conservative, all) guys are the best that the GOP has to offer this country. Here is the editorial from The Nation. If you are religious, pray for something else. If you are political, get going and GOTV.

Who will profit from more rooftop solar?

The surprising answer: Arizona Public Service. You know, the same company that fights tooth and nail to penalize homeowners wanting to reduce their rates via solar. The same company that gets involved in the state politics of the Arizona Public Service Commission ... oops, I meant the Arizona Corporation Commission. Here are a few snippets expanding on the theme from the motherjones.com blog.

The background on APS's history opposing solar

APS is an unlikely solar patron: In the summer of 2013, the Phoenix-area utility launched a campaign to weaken Arizona's net metering rule, which requires utilities to buy the extra solar power their customers generate and provides a major incentive for homeowners to install rooftop panels. A few months later, APS admitted giving cash to two nonprofits that ran an anti-solar ad blitz in the state. Early this year, the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that a letter criticizing the solar industry's business practices, sent by members of Congress to federal regulators, was originally authored by an employee of APS. And a couple weeks ago, APS asked state regulators to let the company quadruple the fees it tacks on to the monthly bills of solar-equipped homeowners.

The current push by APS to enter competition with private solar companies

In December, the Arizona Corporation Commission gave a green light to APS to plunk down $28.5 million on 10 megawatts of solar panels, enough to cover about 2,000 of its customers' roofs. (Tucson Electric Power, another utility in the state, was also approved for a smaller but similar plan.) The idea is that APS will target specific rooftops it wants to make use of—in areas where the grid needs more support, for example, or west-facing roofs, which produce the most power in the late afternoon, when demand is the highest. APS would offer homeowners a $30 credit on their monthly bill, according to Jeff Guldner, an APS vice president for public policy.

Free market competition and clean energy: who could ask for more?

... Nick Culver, the lead US solar analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, thinks the trend is gaining traction and predicts that more utilities like APS will jump into the rooftop solar market.

"It's all about control," he said. Utilities "can justify it [to their shareholders] by saying we're going to profit from this, rather than waiting for other solar companies to take all of the market."

But independent solar companies and some regulators are concerned that letting big utilities into the rooftop solar market will unfairly squeeze out competition, hurt innovation, and ultimately stick customers with higher costs. The result, they argue, will be that fewer households end up choosing solar power.

"The utilities are using their vast economic resources to encourage people to go with them," said Gabe Elsner, executive director of the Energy & Policy Institute, a clean energy think tank in Washington, DC. "What we're seeing is a monopoly trying to retain its monopoly."

The issues raised by the entry of utilities into the solar market is more complicated than big companies vs. little people, so do read the motherjones article for more depth.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Kansas schools expecting greenbacks instead got the shaft from Brownback

Here is another post by Steve Benen at MSNBC/Rachel Maddow Show. He reports on Kansas schools that cannot stay open the entire school year thanks to Brownback's treatment of the Kansas budget.

Six school districts in Kansas will close early this year, following budget cuts signed in March by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Two school districts, Concordia Unified School District and Twin Valley Unified School District, announced earlier this month that they would end the year early because they lacked the funds to keep the schools open. This week, four more districts confirmed they would also shorten their calendars, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

And as we joked a few weeks ago, nothing says "21st-century super power" like American schools closing early because a state can’t afford to keep the lights on.

And, as I noted yesterday, Benen characterized the GOP plans for Kansas as a bottom-up redistribution of wealth. He repeats that observation.

With the latest projections painting an even uglier financial picture for Kansas, the Republican-run state government is eyeing possible tax hikes, most of which are regressive ideas that would burden the poor more than the wealthy.

Now with more time on her hands due to a shortened school year, Dorothy addresses Mr. Brownback: it must be Kansas, Bozo.

Il Duce, beware. Kansas is closing in fast on crAZy's status as winner of the Race to the Bottom.

When parents, "free to make unwise decisions", doom their children to deformity

At the heart of the profound disagreements among Ds and Rs, progressives and conservatives, is the power of the state to compel behaviors that serve the common good. Two instances of that divide are in the area of public health: sex education and immunizations. This morning I address the latter.

The state of Arizona enshrines parental choice to not immunize against diseases, like Rubella, in its statutes. From ARS 15-872:

A. The director of the department of health services, in consultation with the superintendent of public instruction, shall develop by rule standards for documentary proof.

B. A pupil shall not be allowed to attend school without submitting documentary proof to the school administrator unless the pupil is exempted from immunization pursuant to section 15-873.

So what's with 15-873? From ARS 15-873A1:

The parent or guardian of the pupil submits a signed statement to the school administrator stating that the parent or guardian has received information about immunizations provided by the department of health services and understands the risks and benefits of immunizations and the potential risks of nonimmunization and that due to personal beliefs, the parent or guardian does not consent to the immunization of the pupil.

"personal beliefs?" Hold that thought.

From Daily Kos: A Heartwarming Story With A Terrible Lesson for Anti-Vaxers

You can judge for yourself, but I find it heartbreaking. And I doubt that this article and the many other instances of the dangers of voluntary nonimmunization will prove educational to anti-vaxers. By the time a parent reaches that stage, the belief system is beyond science or medicine and hence beyond rational debate and persuasion. But read the story and then continue here.

Back in 2012, I exchanged email with then candidate for the AZ House, Chris Ackerly, about mandatory immunization which I argued for on the grounds of public health benefits. He responded (rom August 29, 2012 email, Chris Ackerley to me):

I believe public schools, both district and charter, should require children be immunized and/or be able to place restrictions on participation base on immunizations. I would hope private schools would also act responsibly. I would also support spending state resources to promote education efforts and provided access to immunization programs. But again, I do not believe the State has the authority to compel parents to immunize children. Freedom sometimes means people are free to make unwise decisions.

What he did not address was the horrible cost of such unwise decisions. Now reread the Daily Kos piece for a rather graphic illustration of why I think I am on the correct, wise side of this issue and Ackerley is not.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Inequality watch: The great Kansas experiment has gone completely wrong, but Brownback and buddies don't get it

Evidence? Steven Benen writing at msnbc/Rachel Maddow Show reports on the mounting budget deficit and tanking revenue predictions. Moreover, the solutions contemplated would spare the wealthy and burden the poor. Here are snippets.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) economic "experiment" obviously hasn’t gone well. The combination of debt downgrades, weak growth, and disastrous state finances have created an ongoing disaster in one of the nation’s reddest states.

Complicating matters, conditions aren’t improving. The state AP reported yesterday that Kansas is projecting the state will generate $187 million less in tax revenue than expected over the next year. The report is slightly worse than the projections Kansas officials faced a month ago, which were slightly worse than the projections the month before that.

Looking further ahead offers little relief. The unexpected shortfall is poised to get worse: the same projections show tax collections nearly $300 million below expectations through mid-2017.

The AP report added that the latest fiscal forecast is "likely" to force the Republican-dominated state government to "consider larger tax increases than they had expected to balance the state budget." That’s true, though as Max Ehrenfreund explained yesterday, who’ll pay shoulder the burden makes a big difference.

One thing they’re not considering: asking the wealthy to chip in. Instead, in a legislature that last week barred welfare recipients from using their benefits to go swimming or watch movies, the proposals that look most likely to succeed are sales and excise taxes that would be paid disproportionately by Kansas’s poor and working class. […]

People who make less are more vulnerable to increases in sales and excise taxes, since they spend more of their money buying basic goods and services they need to get by. This is especially the case in Kansas, where food is subject to sales tax. Kansans can receive a tax rebate for their food purchases, but those who make nothing or too little to owe income tax aren’t eligible. They pay the sales tax on food in full.

It’s best to call this what it is: a redistribution of wealth, from the bottom up.

Making matters slightly worse, proposed sales-tax increases probably won’t be enough to cover Kansas’ projected budget gap. They’ll have to find more money somewhere else.

Place your bets on what the Brownbackians will cut next.

Some radical "experiments" carry severe consequences. Brownback’s economic test is clearly one of them.

AZBlueMeanie at B4AZ reports on a related phenomenon: how the distorted distribution of wealth distorts the way people think about it.

Dean Baker at his "Beat the Press" blog at the Center for Economic and Policy Research responds to Neil Irwin in "NYT Misses Story on Redistribution: Maybe People Don’t Want Government Policies that Rig the Deck for the Rich".

Neil Irwin had an interesting Upshot piece that noted polling data showing people do not favor much higher taxes on the rich. It questioned why it was that people were opposed to redistribution even though inequality has become a major national concern.

Given a whole set of policies that have redistributed a massive amount of income upward, it is understandable that many people would not trust the government to be taxing the rich to help the poor and middle class.

That’s a fair assessment: those with wealth and power write the rules, and they write the rules to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else. In other words, "the game is rigged," as Sen. Elizabeth Warren frequently points out. Warren in Minnesota: ‘The game is rigged’: "The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it," Warren said.

Given the number of billionaires who are buying up presidential candidates like they used to buy up race horses, it’s little wonder average Americans have lost faith that any candidate is going to represent their interests over the demands of the billionaire who financed their campaign, and expects a quid pro quo return.

As one example of the distorted national understanding of inequality consider the change in debate over marginal tax rates. In 1980, the rate was 70%. By the administration of Shrub (Bush 2), the rate had dropped to 35%. Obama got it back only to 39.6%. So the debate has changed from 70 vs. 35 to 40 vs. 35.

There's more under this hood so do read BlueMeanie's post.

Who is "the jagged-toothed forest demon who steals our children"?

A. Richard Nixon

B. Mitch McConnell

C. Wayne LaPierre

D. Dick Cheney

Yes, this is a tough one, but Jon Stewart said "D". Here is a recap and link to the video at Daily Kos. We will miss Jon but not yet.

UA and ASU are partners in search for alien life

It is serious science, I know, but I cannot resist. They could save a lot of money discovering alien life right here in crAZy in the idioture. Members of that alien life form are known as GOPlins.

Back to serious: read the front page article in the Daily Star here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

America's tribal hatred transcends familial ties

This evening (April 21), we had an acrimonious dinner with my brother-in-law and his wife. It turned out to be a perfect example of what Dana Milbanks at the Washington Post writes about. (It's continuing as I write this - yuk.)

We, as a country and society, have devolved and are continuing to devolve, into a tribal society. Think Waziristan. Our political divisions cross-cut familial ties. Mr. and Mrs. Scriber are aligned with FDR-type economics and social actions. Our in-laws really believe that the country is on a fast track to hell because of the gummint and Obummercare.

So we as a country have arrived at something akin to the war between the states. Now it is a war of ideologies. And that war occurs within family groups. There is no give on either side. Read Milbank's column.

Is a tuition cap the answer to higher ed budget cuts? Only if you want higher ed to become lower ed.

Here is the scoop from the Daily Star on a group pushing to cap tuition. The problem, admitted, is finding a way to make up for the lost revenue.

AZBlueMeanie at B4AZ argues that the cap is a lousy idea and poor public policy. He blogs now, as he has done many times in the past, that Prop. 108 is the true villain here - the voter enacted law that mandates a 2/3 majority in the idioture for any kind of tax increase.

Climate change and human health

What will be the impact of a warmer planet on prevalence and transmission of various diseases? Dr. Dan Horton, a Rio Rico veternarian, lists diseases that are likely to increase in frequency as a consequence of climate change. (h/t Marla Daugherty)

David Koch backtracks on Scott Walker

John Nichols from The Nation qualifies earlier reports of an (almost) endorsement.

The billionaire Koch brothers have always had a thing for Scott Walker. But do they support him for president? Well, sort of, but, you know, um, not just yet.

According to several reports from a New York State Republican Party fundraising event on Monday, David Koch told the big donors, "We will support whoever the candidate is. But it should be Scott Walker."

That sounded like an endorsement. So did what Koch said outside the Manhattan event, at which Walker also spoke. Koch hailed the governor of Wisconsin "a tremendous candidate." Could Walker beat former secretary of state Hillary Clinton? "No question about it," chirped Koch. "If enough Republicans have a thing to say— why, he'll defeat her by a major margin."

But hold on. As confused headline writers churned out the "news" that the monied Machiavellis had found their prince, David Koch was scrambling to clarify that "While I think Governor Walker is terrific, let me be clear, I am not endorsing or supporting any candidate for president at this point in time."

Oops. Touche'. As one of those "confused headline writers" I take this opportunity to defer to Nichols. Check out his report on how Walker does not fare well against Hillary Clinton.

(In fairness, I did report on the Koch's second look at Jeb Bush.)

Nichols concludes:

... there may be reason why the Kochs are not quite ready to invest any of that billion-dollar budget in Scott Walker's primary campaign. It may be that, for all of his talk about how Walker would win by "a major margin" in November, 2016, David Koch has seen the polls.

Short takes

Lynch to get vote in Senate (finally!). Lots of stories on this out there. Check out the one at B4AZ.

Pima County supervisors approve vote on $815 million bond package. Maybe we finally get some road relief? Guess which supervisor rebelled.

Daily Kos cartoonist nominated for Pulitzer prize. "Dan Perkins—whose brilliant cartoon "Tom Tomorrow" appears on Mondays at Daily Kos—has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize." Here is an example of his cartoons.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

crAZy in the news: "Arizona government to recently insured Arizonans: F**k you"

Il Duce signed the law forbidding any state level support for or cooperation with Obamacare. That means a couple of hundred thousand residents could be without their newly acquired health insurance if SCOTUS rules against the Affordable Care Act. Duce and the GOPlin idioture have received some notoriety for their cruel indifference. Here is an example from Daily Kos.

There's a new law in Arizona designed to tell the world just how much the state's lawmakers hate Obamacare. Any hate to individual Arizonans who will be hurt by this law is merely implied.

So if the Supreme Court rules against Obamacare this year, Arizona will arguably have no legal recourse or backup option to build a new marketplace.

On some level, this all a bit of a charade meant to symbolize how opposed the governor and legislature are to Obamacare. To build a state exchange, Arizona would have to pass a law doing so—and that law could simply include the language necessary to repeal this one. ...

With a legislature willing to pass this law, how likely would it be that they'd reverse themselves, embrace Obamacare, and maintain insurance for the roughly 155,000 people who have enrolled with subsidies? Not very.

But hey, Arizona legislature, the people of Kansas and Idaho thank you for making our legislatures look a tiny bit less stupid and cruel.

Awesome. crAZy has won another race to the bottom.

China invests $46 billion in Pakistan's infrastructure

Pakistan and the U. S. and China have a common interest in Pakistan's security via counter-terrorism measures. If radicalism can be be controlled, then China's investment may pay off big time for Pakistan - and China. Here are a couple of snippets from the analysis in Al Jazeera.

For Pakistan, the Chinese plans promise a much-needed boost to the country’s creaky infrastructure. They include, for example, a slew of power projects for a country where some areas suffer up to 18 hours without electricity each day. Other plans involve a network of roads and railway lines for an economy that is estimated to lose up to 6 percent of its gross domestic product because of poor transport links. The Arabian Sea port of Gawadar will be developed, and a highway linking the Arabian Sea to the western provinces of China is to be the central artery of what planners call a Pakistan-China economic corridor.

"This will put China much more center stage politically in Pakistan than ever before," said Andrew Small, the author of the book "The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics."

But here is the caveat:

It will be up to the Pakistanis to get the projects up and running within the next couple of years and to stabilize the security situation to ensure that happens. The Chinese have a lot riding on these deals, and the Pakistanis have raised their expectations. "There’s an urgency in measuring up to those expectations," says Mosharraf Zaidi, a policy analyst and former adviser to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry. "This is the one relationship that if Pakistan fails to deliver, it will render itself friendless."

GOP economics is "bulls---t": Can Hillary say that?

That's the essence of Greg Sargent's Washington Post piece yesterday morning (Apr 20). The point is that the 2016 election is likely to be dominated by economic issues.

The 2016 GOP hopefuls all know they have to acknowledge that the economy is rigged against lower-income and working Americans, in favor of those at the top. But all signs right now are that they will diagnose the reason for this very differently from how Dems will: The real structural obstacle to economic mobility is government; cut taxes from the top on down and sweep away regulations, and behold the unshackled private sector’s power to shower everyone with widely distributed gains from turbo-charged growth.

By contrast, Clinton has embraced the core policy mechanisms of Obamacare (Exhibit A in the GOP argument that government is the enemy of economic mobility). She will likely offer a broad-based governmental policy response on the economy: Various proposals designed to boost wages; policies designed to increase workplace flexibility, removing barriers to work for women; investments in education and infrastructure to crank up demand and arm workers to face the challenges of globalization and technological change. It remains to be seen what Clinton will support in terms of high end tax hikes, but she’ll probably call for, at a minimum, higher taxes on capital gains and inherited wealth.

Republicans have already telegraphed that they will attack such policies as a third term of Obummer Big Gummint. Clinton will surely deride the GOP economic agenda for its continued addiction to "trickle down" economic dogma. But it’s one thing to attack Republicans for their continued instinct to protect the wealth of the rich, and quite another to directly take on the GOP argument that government is the problem. The question is how, or whether, Clinton will find an effective way to, well, call "bull—t."

What is stopping confirmation of Loretta Lynch?

Writing in the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson takes a shot at the answer.

In a sane world, the Republican-led Senate would have confirmed Loretta Lynch as attorney general months ago. But sanity hasn’t been seen around here in some time.

No one has raised the slightest question about Lynch’s qualifications. No one disputes that she has been a tough, effective U.S. attorney and a strong manager. No one doubts she is fully capable of serving as the nation’s top law enforcement official — or fails to appreciate the importance of the job.

So what's the problem here?

I would prefer to believe that what’s at work here is neither racism nor sexism but a continuation of the self-destructive political gamesmanship that Republicans prefer over actual governance. McConnell keeps promising to bring Lynch’s name to the floor one of these days, and she needs only a handful of GOP votes to win confirmation. At present, she seems likely to get them — but there is little margin for error.

The thing is, many Republican senators actually like Lynch but won’t vote for her. Unless, perhaps, Obama denounces his own nominee.

Message to Mitch: I guess you prefer Eric Holder.

Short takes

US is most heavily armed nation on earth. Here is coverage of a survey of small arms in various countries from TalkingPointsMemo. On a per capita basis, the only country that comes close to the US in number of arms in Yemen. Now don't you feel safe?

Skip 2016 - it's decided. Koch bothers name Walker as their candidate.

Or maybe not: Jeb Bush gets second look from the Koch-a-Koolaid boys.

John McCain exposes modern day Joe McCarthy: It's Ted Cruz inventing stories about concealed carry on military bases.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Supervisors react to Pima county bond package: One supervisor flop-flips - guess who.

The Daily Star lists reactions from supervisors and various others to the proposal.

Supervisors could decide the fate of the largest bond package ever proposed in Pima County as soon as Tuesday.

The $815 million bond proposal would pay for projects covering road repair, tourism creation, open space purchases, economic development, parks and physical-infrastructure improvement throughout the region.

So you would think that supervisors who have griped about the lack of road repair would be for this proposal? Silly you.

Supervisor Ally Miller said she will not support the bond proposal.

"There’s nothing on the bond package that we should be doing," Miller said.

Miller even objects to road repairs despite frequent criticisms of the county for not allocating enough resources to roads.

"is Obamacare Derangement Syndrome finally burning itself out?"

That's the question posed by Kevin Drum at motherjones.com. He is skeptical that the enormous hatred from the right wing is burning itself out: "I've been repeatedly astonished at the relentlessness of the GOP base's hatred of Obamacare." But he does cite a report in the LA Times offering evidence that it might be happening. (BTW: Scriber shares his pessimism.)

It's a short read with a good graphic on the decline in the percentage of uninsured.

A walk on the wild side: Trolling the right wing media for insanity

Here's a report from alternet.org on your favorite right-wing-nuts spouting incoherently. Think of the conjunction of Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Chris Christie. Or maybe you'd be happier not to.

Climate change news

Here are links to posts from Blog for Arizona on climate change.

Climate science that does not make the news

Carbon monopoly vs. EPA proposed rule

Climate change censorship

Monday Morning Cartoons

From AZBlueMeanie at B4AZ.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Quote of the week

About AZ Gov. Ducey veto of "legislation that would allow county attorneys to refuse adoption help for gay couples" (from AZ Daily Star editorial).

Adding significance to his move is the opposition from Arizona’s chief monitor-of-other-people’s-lives, Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy and a prominent Ducey supporter. She said she’d take the matter to court.

"Ducey briefly shows reasonable side"

That is the title of today's editorial in the Daily Star. But the conclusion is rather different. Here is why.

Ducey signed legislation that "bars state and local governments from using their resources to ‘enforce, administer or cooperate with the ACA,’ prohibits Arizona from setting up its own state-based healthcare exchange or marketplace," [Howard] Fischer reported in the Wednesday Star.

The editorial then slams Il Duce for that signing.

What will the state do if the Supreme Court eliminates the subsidies on federal exchanges? "Once the court rules, the state may have to act, or it may not have to act," Ducey said.

Acting won’t be simple with the new law in place.

Ducey and other Republicans have made their views on Obamacare clear. It’s part of the fraternity pledge. We know where they stand.

But this law has the potential to punish tens of thousands of people who work but need help to afford health insurance. It can be someone piecing together part-time jobs, someone working for themselves or an employee of a small business that doesn’t offer insurance. Maybe they’re workers at the state’s second-largest private employer Walmart or even a Cold Stone Creamery.

It was an irresponsible move that overshadows his compassionate stand on adoptions.

We do not know how many children might be affected by his action on adoptions. We do know how many AZ citizens might be punished by Duce's putting their health care at risk.

Leonard Pitts exposes hypocrisy of irrelevant Presidential characteristics: woman-ness and black-ness

The stimulus was a speech by NRA gunny-in-chief Wayne LaPierre:

... National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre traded his dog whistle for an air horn at a recent gathering of the gun faithful in Washington, D.C. "I have to tell you," he said, "eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough."

Pitts responds:

Evidently, LaPierre wants America to get back to normal, "normal" being defined as when the president is white and male.

So out come the air horns, blatting Woman! Woman! Woman! seeking to reduce a former senator and secretary of state to the sum of her chromosomes. Now the race is apparently on to see who will be first to tag the former law professor, senator and secretary of state with which crude, sexist epithet. Oh, the suspense.

The blazing irony is that conservatives have at least two "demographically symbolic" candidates vying for their favor: Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American senator from Florida and Ted Cruz (does no one else see Joe McCarthy staring back when they look at this guy?), a senator from Texas whose father was born in Cuba.

So the "normal" LaPierre seeks is threatened, regardless.

Here’s the thing about "demographically symbolic" presidents and candidates: They tend to function like Rorschach inkblots. Meaning that what we see in them reveals more about us than them.

It would be nice if Pitts has put an end to this nonsense, but ... probably not.

... Strap in. It’s going to be a very long 19 months until the 2016 election.

Read the complete column at tucson.com.

Why is this woman smiling?

The woman is Martha McSally and the cause for the grin is GOPlin greenbacks. Here is the rundown from azcentral.com on 1st quarter campaign contributions: "Republicans hope to solidify their hold on an Arizona swing seat by pouring cash into Tucson U.S. Rep. Martha McSally's war chest. She raised more than any candidate in recent memory in the first quarter. But Democrats say she'll have a tough re-election campaign." Only if we get a serious candidate cranked up and running.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Inequality watch: House GOPlins vote to increase deficit with gift to the wealthy. Which Dem voted with them?

House Republicans passed a bill repealing the estate tax. The bill is a huge giveaway to the richest of the rich and would effectively add billions more to the deficit. This vote exposes the amazing hypocrisy of the GOP. Here are snippets from the report by Steve Benen (h/t AZBlueMeanie).

When describing Republican tax proposals, it’s not uncommon to talk about policies that disproportionately benefit the very wealthy. GOP proponents will say a bill benefits all taxpayers, but they’ll brush past the fact that the rich benefit most. This, however, is altogether different – today’s bill, called the "Death Tax Repeal Act," quite literally benefits multi-millionaires and billionaires exclusively.

It’s not an exaggeration to say House Republicans, en masse, voted for a $269 billion giveaway to the top 0.2%. Under the plan, GOP lawmakers, who occasionally pretend to care about "fiscal responsibility," would simply add the entire $269 billion cost to the deficit, leaving future generations to pay for a massive tax break for the hyper-wealthy.

Even by contemporary GOP standards, today’s vote is pretty obscene. At a time of rising economic inequality, House Republicans have prioritized a bill to make economic inequality worse on purpose. At a time in which much of Congress wants to make the deficit smaller, House Republicans have prioritized a bill to make the deficit much larger.

Asked to defend this, Republican leaders – the same leaders who balk at all requests for public investment, saying the nation is too "broke" to fund domestic priorities – say it’s only "fair" to approve a $269 billion giveaway to the hyper-wealthy.

It’s like Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens got together to write a novel, and Congress’ majority wants Americans to live in it.

The final tally was 240 to 179, with nearly every GOP lawmaker voting for it and nearly every Democrat voting against it.

WTF? "nearly every Democrat voting against it"? "Nearly"? Not "every"? Which Dems joined in the "pretty obscene" vote?

AZBlueMeanie at B4AZ has the answer: Kyrsten Sinema. I've blogged before about her turncoat votes and here is another example of why she is not ever, ever to be trusted. But I suppose her supporters would regard this vote as purely Sinematic and without consequence given that the bill will likely die in the Senate. They certainly rewarded her bad behavior with lots of cash in the first quarter. They are not paying for principle, so they must just enjoy the show.

Arizona in the news: crAZy poised to get sicker and poorer

Here is a gem from Ezra Klein at vox.com.

Arizona just passed a bizarre new anti-Obamacare law that, in effect, promises to let the Supreme Court wreck the state's health-care system. It's a microcosm of the strange strategy Republicans have adopted against the law: a strategy that's leaving red states poorer and sicker.

The backstory in Arizona is the King v. Burwell case, which holds that federal subsidies are illegal in states that didn't set up their own insurance marketplaces — states like Arizona. If the Supreme Court rules for the plaintiffs, those states, including Arizona, will lose their subsidies.

That would be a disaster for those states. As Sarah Kliff writes, "Approximately 205,000 Arizonans are receiving coverage through the marketplace. Of those, 76 percent are receiving subsidies to help cover the cost of their premiums. An adverse ruling would likely lead the state's exchange to collapse, as healthy, young Arizonans who could only afford insurance because of the subsidies pull out and the exchange itself enters into a death spiral."

What Arizona has promised to do is let that happen. This is a promise it had no need to make: it could wait for the Court's ruling and then decide its response. But Arizona was so desperate to show its loathing of Obamacare that it wanted to go on the record early. And the way it did that is by closing off the easiest avenue available for fixing its insurance market.

This was a decision made, of course, by legislators and a governor who have insurance now, and will have it in the event of an adverse Supreme Court ruling. What will happen to the hundreds of thousands of Arizonans relying on Obamacare for their insurance is less clear.

Klein is referring to the signing of HB2643 by Il Duce forbidding the state from having anything to do with federal health care insurance exchanges. Klein provides good background on the legal case before SCOTUS.