Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Last Call For Worst Kasich Scenario, Con't

Yet another reminder that Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich has a long record of being awful, and not just as the architect of Goerge W. Bush's tax cuts and Social Security privatization scheme as his budget director, but also a terrible record in Congress in the 90's.

In 1996, then-Congressman John Kasich cosponsored a welfare reform bill that, for the first time ever, put a time limit on recipients' access to food stamps. Healthy, childless adults would be able to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for no more than three months in any three-year period, unless they were employed or in a training program for at least 20 hours a week. When Congress balked at a rule that would cause an estimated 1 million people to lose food aid each month, Kasich added an exception that would allow states to seek time-limit waivers for areas with especially high unemployment. 
Twenty years later, in his second term as Ohio's governor, the GOP presidential hopeful is taking advantage of these waivers, as most governors have done. But Ohio civil rights groups and economic analysts say Kasich's administration is using the waivers unequally: It applies for waivers in some regions of the state but refuses them in others, in a pattern that has disproportionately protected white communities and hurt minority populations. 
"The Kasich administration could have addressed the racial inequity in 2016," says Wendy Patton, a senior project director at Policy Matters Ohio, an economic policy research nonprofit, who has written extensively on the state's recent food stamp waiver policy. "The Kasich administration chose not to. The state should broaden its request to encompass all places and regions where jobs are scarce and people are hungry." 
In 2014, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) had the option to waive time limits on food stamps for the entire state. Due to a struggling economy and high unemployment, Ohio had qualified for and accepted this statewide waiver from the US Department of Agriculture every year since 2007, including during most of Kasich's first term as governor. But this time, Kasich rejected the waiver for the next two years in most of the state's 88 counties. His administration did accept them for 16 counties in 2014 and for 17 counties in 2015. Most of these were rural counties with small and predominantly white populations. Urban counties and cities, most of which had high minority populations, did not get waivers.

And the results of Kasich gaming his own legislation that he wrote as a Congressman have been a disaster for Ohio's cities and especially for working poor people of color.

A USDA study released earlier this month ranked Ohio among the worst states in the nation for food security. The state has the highest rate of food insecurity in the Midwest and the sixth highest rate nationally. 
In the summer of 2014, several legal organizations, including Columbus Legal Aid, filed a civil complaintagainst Ohio with the USDA, formally alleging that the state's rejection of waivers across the state disproportionately hurt minority populations. "Without any compelling reason, this decision, and its approval by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)…has unfairly made access to nutrition assistance more difficult for many minority Ohioans," the organizations wrote in their letter. 
The ODJFS' waiver decision seemed to have little basis in math. Seventy-five percent of Ohio's minorities live in just eight of the state's 88 counties. None of those counties got a waiver, even though several of them have higher unemployment rates than counties that did get waivers, notes the civil complaint. "I've never seen the math that illustrates how they came up with these 16 to begin with," says McGarvey, one of the authors of the civil complaint. "When we looked at the data, what we saw was that if they were just cutting it off at the 16 highest unemployment counties, purely using a mathematical formula, those would not have been the 16."

In other words, Kasich kicked Ohio's poorest black and minority voters off food stamps, in urban counties that vote Democratic, and kept food stamps for rural mostly white counties with better unemployment rates that tend to vote Republican.  Counties like Hamilton, where the unemployment among black residents is 17% and one in three are on food stamps, and yet in the last two years thousands have been kicked off the rolls.

But hey, it's probably not intentional, right?

Probably won't find him bragging too much about this on his 2016 campaign website, I'm thinking. Can't imagine why not, he'd actually gain ground in the primaries if he did.  These are Republicans we're talking about, after all.

Ay, Carly Con't

As I pointed out yesterday, the Right Wing Outrage du Jour is hardcore Islamophobia, and Ben Carson and Donald Trump are sufficiently bigoted for the true GOP base.  But as Steve M. reminds me, Fiorina doesn't sufficiently hate Islam enough to be the GOP nominee.

Anyone who continues to think that the questioner at Trump's rally was a plant meant to embarrass Trump is nuts. Trump thinks this sort of talk wins him votes -- he's had a couple of days to revise and polish his message, so if he thought this was harmful to him, he'd back down, but he's not doing that. And Trump is almost certainly correct in his assessment of Republican voters. Carson also knows that Islamophobia sells to the GOP voter base, so that's what he's delivering.

I don't think Fiorina will be able to keep up.

You probably don't know this, but a lot of people on the right do: A few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Fiorina made a speech that praised Islam.

It's a pretty rote speech in hindsight, filled with tech buzzwords and Silicon Valley white knight nonsense about how technology will save "emerging markets", but in the end she tells how Islam made great contributions to the sciences (which is true) and set the world stage for the era of technology we have today (which is also true).

It's possible that Fiorina is done for, certainly, but I doubt it.  If she can keep the subject on her imaginary video of Planned Parenthood dismembering live babies, then she might stay in this after all.

During last week’s Republican presidential debate, Fiorina had claimed that she saw undercover videos from a Planned Parenthood that showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

However, fact checkers like FactCheck.org and The Washington Post have said that there was no such scene included in the videos that were recently released by an anti-abortion group.

“Do you acknowledge what every fact checker has found?” Fox News host Chris Wallace asked the candidate on Sunday. “As horrific as the scene is, it was only described on the video by someone who claimed to have seen it. There is no actual footage of the incident you just mentioned.”

“No, I don’t accept that at all,” Fiorina shot back. “I’ve seen the footage. And I find it amazing, actually, that all these supposed fact checkers in the mainstream media claim this doesn’t exist, they’re trying to attack the authenticity of the videotape, I haven’t found anyone in the mainstream media who has ever watched these things.”

“I mean, they will claim that somebody watched it for them,” she continued. “I will continue to dare anyone who wants to continue to defund Planned Parenthood, watch the videotapes.”

And anyone who wants to challenge me first is going to have to prove to me that they watched it.

This is a perfect argument for her, because she can't lose it.  Anyone who challenges her on this, she will say "You didn't watch the videos, I did, you're lying."  She's basically calling the media liars, and that's a winning hand every time among the GOP faithful.  No Republican is going to challenge her position on this.  No media will challenge her on this.  As long as she can ride this, she stays in the game.

As long as she gets to frame Planned Parenthood as "who do you trust, me or the lamestream media?" she cannot lose, period.  I don't know if it's good enough to get her the nomination, but it's she's going to ride this train as long as she can.  Sarah Palin showed the way 7 years ago.


The Mountain Comes For Mohamed

Just another reminder that rampant Islamophobia isn't exclusive to Republicans, because there are some notable assholes on the left as well, you know, the kind that go after a 14-year-old kid for building a friggin' clock.

On his talk show, Real Time With Bill Maher, the host said Mohamed deserved an apology but teachers reacted reasonably in targeting the boy. 
People at the school thought it might be a bomb … because it looks exactly like a f*cking bomb,” he said during a panel discussion with Mark Cuban, Jorge Ramos, George Pataki, and Chris Matthews. “It’s not the color of his skin. Somebody look me in the eye right now and tell me. Over the last 30 years, if so many young Muslim men … and he’s young, 14, but that’s not like it’s never happened before, hasn’t blown up a lot of sh*t around the world. And this kid deserves an apology, because he wasn’t one of them… Over the last 30 years, it’s been one culture that has been been blowing sh*t up over and over again.” 
He also pointed out that the idea that Mohamed could’ve brought a bomb to school wasn’t unfounded, as several American teenagers have joined ISIS to the shock of people who knew them well. 
Famous atheist and biologist Richard Dawkins agrees that Mohamed suffered an injustice, but the praise he received was uncalled for. 
If the reassembled components did something more than the original clock, that’s creative. If not, it looks like hoax,” he tweeted. “Disassembling & reassembling is great. But you shouldn’t then claim it was your “invention.”

Now granted, Maher and Dawkins are pretty much the worst examples of the left's more public glibertarian atheists going after Muslims, but they're not alone I suspect, and this will happen again the next time.  Honestly, don't be surprised if Maher agrees with Ben Carson's opinion of Muslims on next week's show.


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