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  • lbjdem commented on the diary post Is football on a glide path to obscurity? by danps.

    2013-09-21 07:29:11View | Delete

    We’ll probably have to wait a few, maybe even 10 years, to see if your prediction about casual fans departing from the NFL is true. This season’s Monday Night Football opener featuring Philadelphia at Washington was the highest rated MNF season opener in history (at least, since the program moved from ABC to ESPN). The [...]

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post Hemp Flag to Fly Over the Capitol Building Today

    2013-07-04 12:58:44View | Delete

    it would be easy to hide the illegal marijuana plantings within hemp growth

    While visually easy, you’d end up with a product that neither hemp nor marijuana producers would want. Cannabis cross pollinates, and you’d end up with crappy THC content in the mary jane and crappy fibrous properties in the hemp.

    While it’s an argument I’m sure groups like the DEA would make against hemp, it’s not a good one.

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post So About That Cyberwarfare Summit With China…

    2013-06-07 15:25:08View | Delete

    I always thought the best way to discourage China from engaging in cyber warfare was to create an internet version of the old Radio Free America.

    In other words, foster and popularize the means for China’s citizens to bypass their government’s content and filtering controls. I’m no internet engineer, but I imagine interesting things could be done with a dynamic proxy client application.

    Small groups of individuals have already created similar things to improve peer to peer file sharing, specifically to get around DNS blocks for popular torrent sites. They’ve even created somewhat secure end-to-end communications with Tor.

    Nothing would strike fear into the PRC government like giving the people in that country unfettered internet access.

  • Typically, there is an uptick due to repairs and construction activity. Unless something happened caused a particular location to stop being viable (New Orleans comes to mind but Katrina only sped up economic forces already happening), but in general they help.

    I agree. To use a much smaller scale event as comparison, south central Pennsylvania had a small tornado with an accompanying damaging hail storm in the spring of 2011. In my neighborhood, 75% of homes had their roofs replaced, and we had our siding replaced as well. There was similar damage throughout this (mostly) rural county. Great business for roofers and body shops repairing hail damage.

    A certain level of property damage is a good thing for the economy. If the tornado had been more powerful, if there had been long lasting (weeks) and widespread power outages, if many homes were destroyed, then certainly that would probably be viewed as an economic detriment. Some businesses would have ceased or curtailed operations for a time and individuals displaced would have been forced to spend money on temporary shelter.

    It’s certainly way too early to predict which side of the economic scale (stimulative or depressive) this particular storm will fall. County by county, we’ll likely find some of both before it’s over.

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post Obama’s Second Term Goal: Cut Social Security

    2012-10-04 07:06:05View | Delete

    I was working my first job when Reagan “tweeked” Social Security. That tweek doubled the payroll tax, and raised my retirement age from 65 to 67.

    More disturbing, is the President’s continued support for Bowles-Simpson, when that plan would essentially convert the program from social insurance to welfare. You can read more about that here (pdf):

    Bowles-Simpson would end Social Security As We Know It

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post With Akin Staying In, NRSC Says They’ll Withhold Funds

    2012-08-21 12:51:01View | Delete

    I noticed something odd recently, here in south central PA. Our local TV stations are based out of York and Harrisburg. While I’ve seen plenty of Republican and Democratic Super PAC ads, as well as those from the Obama and Romney campaigns, I have yet to see an ad either for or against our incumbent Senator Bob Casey, Jr or his Republican opponent, Tom Smith.

    Presidential ads have been prominent both on local stations, and cable (local ad inserts, which are several minutes per hour).

    I realize beating a Casey in PA is an uphill battle. Given that the Republicans won most if not all statewide races in ’10, though, you’d think the RSCC and their buddies would be a little more aggressive going after Casey. Maybe both campaigns are dumping all their ad $ in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and the Northeast. I just find it strange both Presidential campaigns and their allies are spending heavily here (a red part of the state aside from the city of Harrisburg), and the respective Senate campaigns have completely ignored the region.

    Maybe things will change after Labor Day, but I’m not really expecting it. Maybe Republicans are conceding the state. Casey is up double digits against an opponent few have ever heard of.

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post Obama and Romney Tied in Florida

    2012-07-31 12:22:25View | Delete

    Jon, is there a path to the Presidency for Romney where he doesn’t win Florida? I don’t think there is.

    Conversely, I can think of a couple for Obama that don’t include Florida.

    Just saying I believe the state, like Ohio, is a MUST WIN for Romney and a clincher for Obama.

  • Here in Pennsylvania, it is illegal to use any semi-automatic rifle or handgun to hunt. Semi-auto shotguns, with strict limits on rounds they hold, are legal for hunting small game (rabbits, fox, etc) and waterfowl (ducks and geese).

    My feeling is if Wisconsinites need an AR-15 or AK-47 to kill a deer, they must be pretty terrible hunters.

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post Obama Super PAC Claims Bain Attack Is Working

    2012-07-11 10:48:08View | Delete

    I was surprised to see many Obama and Obama PAC ads running here, in south central Pennsylvania. They began running in May on TV stations based in Harrisburg and York, and as local inserts on Comcast cable.

    What’s interesting is this region of PA tends to vote Republican by a significant margin.

    I have no personal knowledge if the ads are working. The two ads I’ve seen the most recount Bain Capital buying out companies, laying off workers and eliminating their retirement and health benefits. Told, ostensibly, by former workers, I find the ads powerful and difficult to ignore.

    For the first month they ran, there were few if any pro-Romney or anti-Obama ads. The ratio now is closer to 1:1 but the volume from both sides is not that significant. In May, there was an obvious Obama ad blitz but that seems to have tapered off.

  • Govt agency blows $800K on a conference
    * is outraged

    Govt contractor can’t account for a billion $ in cash flown into Iraq
    * mistakes happen

    * is US Congress

  • If lack of an individual mandate purchase insurance would send plans into a “death spiral”, as the Obama administration and others suggest, why hasn’t that happened in Pennsylvania?

    Blue Cross / Blue Shield (still a non-profit here) offers guaranteed issuance individual health insurance polices across the state of Pennsylvania. There are no limitations on coverage of pre-existing conditions. For a 40 year old, non-smoking male, an 80% coverage policy (most diagnostic and preventive care is covered at 100%) with an annual out of pocket maximum roughly in line with ACA requirements the monthly premium is around $400. 100% coverage plans are also available, but cost as much as 50% more.

    While this insurance is expensive, and out of reach for many with modest incomes, it is available to all and premium increases in the last decade are comparable to increases to all individual policies nationally.

    If the “death spiral” of only only the very sick signing up for individual plans was a real, demonstrable possibility, why hasn’t it happened in Pennsylvania with individual plans available for a decade or longer?

  • If the lack of a mandate would send the individual insurance market into a “death spiral”, as some critics and the insurance industry suggest, why hasn’t that happened in Pennsylvania?

    Here in PA, anyone can purchase an individual (or family) health insurance policy from Blue Cross / Blue Shield. The non-profit even offers some level of community rating, with slightly different rates in several geographic areas. While insurance is expensive, and out of reach for many modest wage earners (a plan covering 80% of health care costs up to an out of pocket max for the year is around $400/month for a 40 year old), the rates haven’t risen substantially faster than health insurance rates for individuals in other states without guaranteed issue.

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post Obama to War Hypemongers: “Explain the Consequences”

    2012-03-06 12:50:10View | Delete


    Not related to this post, but you might want to let your admins know that is popping with a Malware warning when using Google Chrome.

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post The War on Lady Parts Continues in Congress, States

    2012-02-16 12:20:55View | Delete

    The personhood amendment defeated on a ballot initiative last year was in Mississippi, not Missouri, if that’s what you were referring to, David.

  • Oh, looks like this won’t effect Mom, since it’s only on people with incomes above $250K/year.

    My general feelings, however, are that capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as interest and dividends. It’s all unearned income, or in the case of professional house flipper, income that should often be discouraged.

  • More than a third of my 83 year old mother’s income is from dividends. The rest is social security ($800/month) and a federal retirement annuity ($500/month). Last year, she made around $30K gross.

    Taking dividends isn’t going to hit just the 1%, not by a long shot. It’s going to hit people solidly in the middle class, especially the retired and those near retirement age.

    Smart investors don’t try and make a lot from the market on sale of individual stocks (profit from taxed at capital gains rates) as they near retirement. They do invest in stocks that have decent rates of return, typically small to regional sized banks, utilities companies, and REITs (real estate investment trusts).

    Given that conventional savings accounts, money markets, and certificates of deposit are effectively paying 0 to 1% interest for years, there’s more than a few people who went the dividends route to get some return on their retirement savings. My mother isn’t one of those, she inherited her stock 20 years ago and has been holding it.

    A surtax on dividends is going to hurt, and not the people making bank on the carried interest exemption.

  • If such a law lead to Christina Aguilera never singing the national anthem again, I could probably support it.

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post He Needs A Queen To Satisfy His Urgin’s

    2011-12-26 22:12:47View | Delete

    Could do without the unflattering photo and thinly veiled reference to “fembot” at the end of this piece. As someone who heard, read, and saw all the “Hitlery” bullshit during Clinton’s presidency, I don’t like attacking politician’s spouses whether it’s someone I support or oppose.

  • This afternoon I opted to pay for a full blood panel on my sick cat – $150. I didn’t take the time to shop around to find out if that was a good price or not. From what we can tell, it seems nothing too serious other than an infection which will hopefully respond to antibiotics.

    He also got sub-cutaneous fluids, an antibiotic injection, and more oral antibiotics to be taken over 2 weeks.

    The thing I was most impressed about was they could run a full blood panel right there in the office in less than 30 minutes. That’s something you can’t get as a human being in this world, unless you’re admitted to a hospital.

  • lbjdem commented on the blog post Chart of the Day: GOP Energy Turns from Cain to Gingrich

    2011-11-16 20:32:15View | Delete

    The Fannie Mae lobbying / advising / whatever it was is just the tip of the iceberg. The guy has been in politics for 30 years, and therefore is an easy target for a “swift-boating” by any random PAC with untraceable contributions.

    How many times did Newt vote to increase taxes? How many times did he change his position on Libya?

    Shooting fish in a barrel.

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