The Five Battlefields for Control of the House – The New York Times

“THE SUBURBS. CITIES. SMALL TOWNS. RURAL AMERICA.The November election for Democratic or Republican control of the House of Representatives will come down to roughly 75 seats that are most competitive this fall.You can’t possibly keep track of all those districts and candidates across the country.Consider this your field guide to the fight for the House.We grouped the 75 districts into five main battlefields — not by what part of the country they’re in, but by the social and cultural characteristics they share.In our analysis, we looked at how Democrats and Republicans will try to piece together a House majority from across these voting blocs. Democrats need toTHE SUBURBS. CITIES. SMALL TOWNS. RURAL AMERICA.

The November election for Democratic or Republican control of the House of Representatives will come down to roughly 75 seats that are most competitive this fall.

You can’t possibly keep track of all those districts and candidates across the country.

Consider this your field guide to the fight for the House.

We grouped the 75 districts into five main battlefields — not by what part of the country they’re in, but by the social and cultural characteristics they share.

In our analysis, we looked at how Democrats and Republicans will try to piece together a House majority from across these voting blocs. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to take the House from Republicans. pick up 23 seats to take the House from Republicans.”

David Lindsay: I’m disgusted by Donald Trump. Since the GOP will not rein him in, or protect Robert Mueller, we need to tip the Congress to the Democrats: for the environment, decency, a sane foreign policy and the democracy.

Advertisements

The Worst Drug Crisis in American History – By Jessica Bruder – NYT

By Jessica Bruder
July 31, 2018 89 comments
DOPESICK Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America By Beth Macy Illustrated. 376 pp. Little, Brown & Company. $28.

In 2000, a doctor in the tiny town of St. Charles, Va., began writing alarmed letters to Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. The drug had come to market four years earlier and Art Van Zee had watched it ravage the state’s poorest county, where he’d practiced medicine for nearly a quarter-century. Older patients were showing up at his office with abscesses from injecting crushed-up pills. Nearly a quarter of the juniors at a local high school had reported trying the drug. Late one night, Van Zee was summoned to the hospital where a teenage girl he knew — he could still remember immunizing her as an infant — had arrived in the throes of an overdose.

Van Zee begged Purdue to investigate what was happening in Lee County and elsewhere. People were starting to die. “My fear is that these are sentinel areas, just as San Francisco and New York were in the early years of H.I.V.,” he wrote.

Since then, the worst drug crisis in America’s history — sparked by OxyContin and later broadening into heroin and fentanyl — has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, with no signs of abating. Just this spring, public health officials announced a record: The opioid epidemic had killed 45,000 people in the 12-month span that ended in September, making it almost as lethal as the AIDS crisis at its peak.”

David Lindsay:

My comment to the NYT, now also the blog post before this one:

If we legalize and regulate addictive drugs, much of these enormous profits from the illegal drug business would decrease dramatically. When alcohol was re-legalized after prohibition, armed gangs were disbanded and killings decreased greatly.

Many economists, at least privately, admit that we should legalize addictive drugs to ameliorate the negative effects. Herbert Stein and Milton Friedman are two famous right of center economists who have called for legalization.

   Legalization would allow us win the war on illegal drug trafficking, and it is probably the only way to win the war on drug trafficking.

It would not be simple. There would need to be investment and resources into drug addiction rehabilitation programs, jobs programs, support systems. We would need severe financial penalties and long jail sentences for  businesses and individuals that push addictive drugs onto non-addicts. The law has to be severe with people who turn citizens or patients into addicts.

Decriminalization would be an immediate place to begin, to get tens of thousands of petty drug users and sellers out of our jails.

We have a heroin epidemic in New England and the rest of the country right now. Much of the heroin is bad, and kills people. If heroin was legal and regulated, doses would be bad for you, but wouldn’t stop your heart. Countless young people, including my son Austin, would be alive after experimenting with the drug. It is the illegality of these drugs that make them unregulated. Bad batches kill people, like my son Austin. The huge illegal profits are destabilizing whole countries, and police forces, prosecutors and judges.

Legalize Addictive Drugs – By David Lindsay Jr

If we legalize and regulate addictive drugs, much of these enormous profits from the illegal drug business would decrease dramatically. When alcohol was re-legalized after prohibition, armed gangs were disbanded and killings decreased greatly.

Many economists, at least privately, admit that we should legalize addictive drugs to ameliorate the negative effects. Herbert Stein and Milton Friedman are two famous right of center economists who have called for legalization.

   Legalization would allow us win the war on illegal drug trafficking, and it is probably the only way to win the war on drug trafficking.

It would not be simple. There would need to be investment and resources into drug addiction rehabilitation programs, jobs programs, support systems. We would need severe financial penalties and long jail sentences for  businesses and individuals that push addictive drugs onto non-addicts. The law has to be severe with people who turn citizens or patients into addicts.

Decriminalization would be an immediate place to begin, to get tens of thousands of petty drug users and sellers out of our jails.

We have a heroin epidemic in New England and the rest of the country right now. Much of the heroin is bad, and kills people. If heroin was legal and regulated, doses would be bad for you, but wouldn’t stop your heart. Countless young people, including my son Austin, would be alive after experimenting with the drug. It is the illegality of these drugs that make them unregulated. Bad batches kill people, like my son Austin. The huge illegal profits are destabilizing whole countries, and police forces, prosecutors and judges.

 

originally posted on Facebook.

Here is the same comment, cut to under 1500 words, to become a comment at the NYT today, after an article by Jessica Bruder, “The Worst Drug Crisis in American History”

If we legalize and regulate addictive drugs, much of these enormous profits from the illegal drug business would decrease dramatically. When alcohol was re-legalized after prohibition, armed gangs were disbanded and killings decreased greatly. Many economists, at least privately, admit that we should legalize addictive drugs to ameliorate the negative effects. Herbert Stein and Milton Friedman are two famous right of center economists who have called for legalization. There would need to be investment and resources into drug addiction rehabilitation programs, jobs programs, support systems. We would need severe financial penalties and long jail sentences for  businesses and individuals that push addictive drugs onto non-addicts. The law has to be severe with people who turn citizens or patients into addicts. Decriminalization would be an immediate place to begin, to get tens of thousands of petty drug users and sellers out of our jails. We have a heroin epidemic in New England and the rest of the country right now. Much of the heroin is bad, and kills people. If heroin was legal and regulated, doses would be bad for you, but wouldn’t stop your heart. Countless young people, including my son Austin, would be alive after experimenting with the drug. It is the illegality of these drugs that make them unregulated. Bad batches kill people, like my son Austin. The huge illegal profits are destabilizing whole countries, and police forces, prosecutors and judges.

Opinion | The New Know-Nothings – By Jennifer Finney Boylan – NYT

By Jennifer Finney Boylan

Ms. Boylan is a contributing opinion writer.
July 25, 2018
“My fellow Americans: It is my honor today to announce the formation of a new political party, which I am calling “the Republican Party.”You can be forgiven for thinking, Wait, don’t we already have one of those? But please. Under Donald Trump, the Republican Party, at least as we once understood it, has become a fantastical entity, a creature not wholly unlike the Abominable Snowman, or the Chupacabra, or the mythical Squonk of central Pennsylvania, the imaginary creature that spends its days deep in the forest, weeping in despair at its own hideousness.

“There is no Republican Party,” said John Boehner, a former Republican speaker of the House, back in April. “There’s a Trump Party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.” ”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval

Opinion | What Is the Democratic Story? – by David Brooks – NYT

David Brooks in an intangible national treasure. He starts with:
“There’s a lot of discussion about how far left the Democratic Party should go these days. Is it destroying its electoral chances when its members call for a single-payer health plan or abolishing ICE?

That’s an important question, but the most important question is what story is the Democratic Party telling? As Alasdair MacIntyre argued many years ago, you can’t know what to do unless you know what story you are a part of. Story is more important than policies.”

. . . .    “In brief, Democrats have stayed away from this narrative because the long hoped-for alliance between oppressed racial minorities and the oppressed white working class has never materialized, and it looks very far from materializing now.

Maybe this year is different, but for 100 years, Democrats have tended to win with youthful optimism and not anger and indignation. The Democrats who have won nationally almost all ran on generational change — on tired old America versus the possibilities of new America: F.D.R.’s New Deal, J.F.K.’s New Frontier, Bill Clinton’s bridge to the 21st century and Obama’s hope and change.”

David Lindsay:

Thank you David Brooks for shining more light into the darkness that appears to be growing. The detractors are many, and they are like those annoying children of Kahil Gilbran, They have their own thoughts. You do not pander to any group, but perhaps to those of us who are into self flagellation and searching for deeper truths at the expense often of popularity.

“The story Donald Trump tells is that we good-hearted, decent people of Middle America have been betrayed by stupid elites who screw us andbeen threatened by foreigners who are out to get us. That story resonated with many people. You can get a lot of facts wrong if you get your story right.”

In tennis, if you hit a ball before it lands by the baseline, you will never know for sure if it was going out. We will probably never know how we would have done in the last election if we had chosen Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. While I lie awake at night thinking about such things, I force myself to think about what do to in this next election. I think fondly of David Leonhardt, who pointed out that we have to be disciplined, and focus on the red and blue state voters  who voted for Obama, and then switched to Trump. We also have to somehow force the government, or at least the press, to hold off the Russians and GOP manipulating Facebook and other social media with dark ads, paid for with dark money.

Parents Behaving Badly: A Youth Sports Crisis Caught on Video – By Bill Pennington – NYT

By Bill PenningtonJuly 18, 2018
78 comments
TULSA, Okla. — In one video, a fan at a youth soccer game bellows profanities and violently kicks a ball that slams into a teenage referee standing nearby. She disagreed with a penalty called.

Another captures parents at a youth basketball game charging the court to hurl punches at the referee. And yet another shows parents berating game officials as they walk to their cars after a soccer game. The players were 8-year-olds.

The videos were posted on a Facebook page, Offside, created in frustration by an Oklahoma youth soccer referee, Brian Barlow, who offers a $100 bounty for each clip in order to shame the rising tide of unruly parents and spectators at youth sports events.

“I do it to hold people accountable — to identify and call out the small percentage of parents who nonetheless create a toxic environment at youth sports,” Barlow, 44, said. “It’s a very visual deterrent, and not just to the person caught on video but to others who ask themselves: Do I look like that jerk?” ”

David Lindsay:

This put a smile on my face. Not the video, but that a referee stood up to ugly parents. And, it is worth noting, not all Facebook stories are bad. Here is Facebook as spectacular public servant.
I coached and sometimes refereed youth soccer for 10 or 11 years. I coached my three kids, Austin, Daniel and Catherine. It was a good run, pun intended. I didn’t see many out of control parents, but bad parent behavior was a regular discussion of our organizational meetings. While coaching U6, (Under Six), or 4 and 5 year olds,
I once with a big smile reprimanded one Dad gentlly, for yelling, “Go Joey, pull his pants down.”
I was tempted to use the same expression myself many times afterwards, but lucking, kept it as just a dinner story.

Showdown on a Trump Subpoena Could Overshadow Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation – by Adam Liptak – NYT

” “Even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation — including preparing for questioning by criminal investigators — are time-consuming and distracting,” Judge Kavanaugh wrote. “Like civil suits, criminal investigations take the president’s focus away from his or her responsibilities to the people. And a president who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as president.”Judge Kavanaugh said the proceedings could resume after a president left office and that impeachment remained an option before then.”

DL: This is a seriuous issue. I aggree with the following two commenters:
HN
Philadelphia, PA1h ago

“And a president who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as president.” – BM Kavanaugh

And a President concerned about his golf handicap is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as a president.

And a President concerned about his business interests is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as a president.
William commented 4 hours ago
W
William
USA4h ago

Suppositions: 1) the Justice Department is conducting an investigation into Russian interference in a presidential election; that investigation includes issues related to whether persons around a now sitting president had colluded with Russia, and issues related to whether the sitting president had sought to obstruct justice; 2) the sitting president has said and done things that cause a sizeable portion of the electorate to question his motives and integrity with regard to national interests of the country.

Question: in such a circumstance regarding such high stakes – higher I would argue than those surrounding Nixon and Clinton – is it reasonable to believe that the sitting president should not be disturbed in his daily duties in order to answer questions under oath?

The answer must be that it is not reasonable and the sitting president must be disturbed and obliged to answer the questions under oath. This is not some deep, imponderable philosophical issue; it’s straight-forward common sense.

Brett Kavanaugh on the Issues: Abortion- Guns- Climate and More – by Charlie Savage – NYT

By Charlie Savage,   

 

“Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has spent the past dozen years embracing the philosophy of the conservative legal movement as he assembled a record on the powerful federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

On issues as diverse as abortion and gun rights to disputes over national-security policies and business regulations, Judge Kavanaugh emphasized textual limitations while frequently favoring corporations over regulators, and the government over individuals claiming rights violations. With a few exceptions, his pattern is typically conservative.

To be sure, Judge Kavanaugh’s history on the bench is not a perfect guide to the approach he would pursue if confirmed to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom he once clerked. Appeals court judges are bound to obey Supreme Court precedent, but justices are free to vote to overturn past rulings.

Still, the judge’s record — especially in cases where he disagreed with colleagues — provides clues about the sort of justice he would be if the Senate confirms him.”

David Lindsay Jr:

Interesting piece. Not my type of guy, but not a monster either. NPR reported that one Yale Professor warned that if you refuse this guy, who is talented and decent, thought quite to the right, you could get stuck with something much worse.

I am afraid that my instincts are along the same lines as the Yale Law professor.

opinion- Charles Krauthammer – By Bret Stephens

“Charles Krauthammer, the Washington Post columnist, announced last week that he is stricken with terminal cancer and has only weeks to live. Since then, the tributes have poured forth, and rightly so. Charles taught generations of readers and fellow writers how to reason, persuade, live — and now how to die.

These things are all connected because wisdom and goodness are entwined and, deep down, perhaps identical. Of Charles’s goodness — his qualities as a father, friend and colleague; his courage and resilience as a man — the tributes from people who know him much better than I do richly testify.

Of his wisdom, we have 38 years’ worth of columns, essays, speeches and spoken commentaries. If you lean conservative, as I do, the experience of a Krauthammer column was almost invariably the same: You’d read the piece and think, “that’s exactly it.” Not just “interesting” or “well written” or “mostly right.” Week after week, his was the clearest and smartest expression of the central truth of nearly every subject: a bad Supreme Court nomination, the joys and humiliations of chess, the future of geopolitics.

And if you don’t lean conservative? Then Charles’s writing served an even more useful purpose. Since I’m not aware of any precise antonym to the term “straw man,” I hereby nominate the noun “krauthammer” to serve the function, defined in two ways: (1) as the strongest possible counterargument to your opinion; (2) a person of deep substance and complete integrity.”

David Lindsay:

Bret Stephens liked Charles Krauthammer. He writes lovingly of him, which is nice.  But I hated Charles Krauthammer’s right wing rants. He twisted the truth about weapons of mass destruction, the value of Obamacare, and the threat of climate change.

Here are some of the many comments, that helped remind me of what a tool of fake news on Fox News this ideologue was.

Michael Charney
Cambridge, MA

CK had a medical degree from Harvard and would be expected to “do no harm.” Yet despite his scientific background he failed to speak the truth about climate change. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of his fellow human beings are now condemned to die because “Conservative” pundits such as CK chose group think over science.

Stuart Phillips commented June 15

Stuart Phillips
Stuart Phillips
New Orleans

It always amazes me when two seemingly intelligent people can read the same thing and come to such incredibly different conclusions. I have been reading Charles Krauthammer’s columns for a long time. He has been consistently wrong about everything that I have noted that could be reasonably scored as right or wrong. The Iraqis did not have weapons of mass destruction, the Kosovo war was successful, change can occur, and the Democrats are often right. Pres. Trump is not the Savior of the universe.

Yet somehow or other Brett Stevens thinks this man was knowledgeable about the future. I don’t understand, and I never will. Evidently prejudice and tribalism can overcome reality even in a otherwise intelligent New York Times columnist.

The reality-based community scores people on whether they are correct in predicting future events. This is the criterion of science. It is the one I use when I read someone’s opinions. Evidently, Mr. Stephens criterion is quite different. .

John Locke commented June 15

J
John Locke
Amesbury, MA

I found Mr. Krauthammer to be a bitter, caustic and divisive columnist. I hope he finds the peace that seems to have eluded him.

Edward Blau commented June 15

E
Edward Blau
Times Pick

As a fellow physician about Dr. Krauthammers age I felt deeply how the tragic diving accident he suffered early in his career so severely affected not only his professional life but also his personal life. And I admired how he coped with dignity and humor.
In his young adult life he was like me a liberal and later unlike me became a neoconservative who was a strong and fervent advocate for our misguided war in Iraq.
I felt badly for him that the entire eight years of Obama’s term as President he spent his diminishing days as a bitter and not always truthful critic. He never used that sharp mind of his to skewer W or Cheney.
I will miss him as a worthy intellectual adversary and wish him godspeed in his last journey.

Leslie commented June 15

L
Leslie
Arlington, VA

BretStephens: ‘ his was the clearest and smartest expression of the central truth ‘
? WHAT ?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Krauthammer
‘ 9/11 attacks Krauthammer wrote made clear existential threat and necessity for a new interventionism ..United States had no choice but to go to war in Afghanistan.. He supported Second Iraq War on “realist” grounds of strategic threat the Saddam regime posed ..and of his alleged weapons of mass destruction ‘
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_cost_of_the_Iraq_War
‘ trillions ‘
BretStephens: ‘ his was the clearest and smartest expression of the central truth ‘
? WHAT ?
==

The Best Way to Spur Growth? Help the Poor- Not the Rich – by Peter Coy – Bloomberg Businessweek

“Trickle-down economics” is a term liberals use when they want to disparage tax cuts for the rich. So on Nov. 9, when Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo asked Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin at an Economic Club of New York luncheon, “Do you still believe in trickle-down economics?” the prudent answer was obvious: “Of course not, Maria. That’s not what the Republican tax plan is about at all.”

Instead, Mnuchin said, “Uh, uh, I do.”

To be sure, Mnuchin is gaffe-prone. He was last spotted on Nov. 15 happily gripping a big sheet of uncut dollar bills while his wife, actress Louise Linton, struck a Cruella de Vil pose beside him. As the journalist Michael Kinsley once said, a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. And the truth is that Republicans have gone all in on the notion that if they pour tax cuts onto the very rich, the benefits will flow down to the mere rich, and from them to the middle class, and finally to the poor. Like a Champagne tower at a swanky wedding reception.

There’s a reason trickle-down is suddenly trickling from everyone’s lips. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center calculates that the Senate’s version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would give the biggest benefits to people just below the top 1 percent of incomes in 2019 and 2025, measuring benefits as the percentage change in each group’s after-tax income. By 2027, as some of the law’s provisions expire and others remain, the top 0.1 percent would be the biggest beneficiaries, the center says. (To be fair, this preliminary calculation doesn’t take into account potential economic growth effects from the tax changes.)”

Source: The Best Way to Spur Growth? Help the Poor, Not the Rich – Bloomberg

David Lindsay:

I love Paul Krugman, because he can make complicated economics understandable. Peter Coy has that ability, and here he does a fine job of deciphering one of the right wing’s great canards.