Progressive politics, news & talk hosted by David Waldman

Morning wingnut outrage: Someone said "spooning" on CNN, and that's Teh Sex! Morning meta-debate: does criticism of the NYT's Benghazi story require on-the-ground reporting? Greg Dworkin focuses the morning madness with a round of ACA stories. Charles Gaba (aka Brainwrap) gets front page WaPo notice for his signup calculations. Greg's next story becomes the first hour obsession, the NBC coverage of how ACA implementation was impacting employees of a Michigan car dealership. But not before distracting us with the very wonkish notion of carving time up into infinitely small slices, to see if we can defeat federal health care policy. Or something. Then we double back to dissect that NBC News story, and it doesn't look like it holds up. The NSA is in the news again, and we read Cory Doctorow's treatment of the big Der Spiegel story. Also: Bloomberg reveals the new American Caymans, in South Dakota.

Direct download: December_30_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:25pm EST

We're (briefly) back from the holiday break, having been captivated by the post-Christmas tweeting of photos of people displaying the new guns they got as gifts. Particularly those shown with their fingers on the trigger! Greg Dworkin wraps up his picks from the week's news, including Brainwrap's data on ACA sign-ups (over 5.75 million), Christopher Flavelle's "Somebody Has to Be Wrong About Obamacare," private sector Christmas package delivery problems, the NYT's "With Health Law Cemented, G.O.P. Debates Next Move," WaPo's "Hey Dems: the only way out on health care is through," and Susan Demas' "I know who the next president will be!" We reviewed the early returns on post-Christmas #GunFAIL. Kenzo Shibata's "Why the Left Must Embrace Affluenza." Dartagnan's top-recommended diary, "Why No Wall Street CEOs Were Prosecuted For Causing the Financial Crisis." Josh Tauberer notes 50% of the U.S. population lives in 1% of the land area. Think about that when looking at red/blue Congressional district maps. Lastly, we start looking at Jen Dziura's "When 'Life Hacking' Is Really White Privilege."

Direct download: December_27_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:58pm EST

Not everything in the world has been said about Duck Dynasty yet, apparently. So we talk about how we don't understand why we're still talking about it. Greg Dworkin notes the arrival of Festivus, and airs his grievances against the media. In particular, this from WaPo's The Fix column: "Joe Manchin's Obamacare fears -- and why they matter." Better example of how to talk about health care cost disruptions: NYT's "Health Care's Road to Ruin." Yes, things are complex. Even the no-brainer of keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. And in a closing holiday note, "Nordic Quack," Sweden's bizarre tradition of watching Donald Duck cartoons on Christmas Eve. And how about our own rise of redneck TV? Great opportunity for easy grassroots activism (and local stardom!) in foresterbob's diary, "I signed up for health insurance, told my GOP Congressman about it, and made the local news." Then, an interview with bunnygirl60, aka Arliss Bunny, author of The Smart Bunny's Guide to Debt, Deficit and Austerity.

Direct download: December_23_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:35pm EST

Well, I guess we're at the stage where we have to endure Duck Dynasty "think pieces." It's also time for duelling essays by Washington journalists about why Washington journalism does or doesn't suck. Next, a reading (with accompanying patented KITM-style tangent discussions) of Gawker's "The Second Class Citizens of the Google Cafeteria." Somehow, we end up fomenting security guard-led revolution. Roll Call's round-up of recent House retirements, and their taxonomy of "The 4 Types of House Retirements to Come," then a little historical context/Hill insider anecdote to accompany their report the House's newest Member has hired a 25-year-old Chief of Staff. Finally, another shot at that crazy EPA/fake-CIA guy story.

Direct download: December_20_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:14pm EST

Greg Dworkin was back today, and he brought a new NYT/CBS poll with him. "Uninsured Skeptical of Health Care Law in Poll," we're told. And Greg takes that apart. He also points us to "The GOP Repeal Trap" as well as Alex Pareene's 2013 "Hack List." Then, we hold up National Memo's "America's Greediest" profile of Sheldon Adelson and yesterday's report on the "accidental" $100 billion tax loophole for the rich next to Slate's look at the original "Welfare Queen," and ask who's stealing more here? A quick detour to Speaker Boehner renting his DC apartment from a tanning industry lobbyist, and then a call from Armando, to move us to Politico's effort to let us know that they held a panel concluding that the media is full of filthy liberals. Of course, we think it's just full of derp. Finally, an attempt to get to the completely bonkers story of the EPA official who pretended to be in the CIA!
Direct download: December_19_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:53pm EST

"Happy Holidays!" POW! Arizona woman allegedly punches a Salvation Army bell ringer for using the "wrong" greeting. A clip from the David Pakman show (another Netroots Radio fave) informs us that $4,000 of the taxes paid on a $50,000 annual salary end up paying for corporate subsidies! Joan McCarter joins the show for a roundup that includes the non-budget "budget deal" and renewed threats of debt ceiling brinkmanship, the lack (so far) of serious post-nuclear Senate drama, the expiration of unemployment insurance, the NSA lawsuits, Dan Drezner's "Tone-Deaf at the Listening Post," and, somewhere in the middle of it all... historical changes in human sleep patterns! Also: "Accidental Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion," which Alec MacGillis points out is more than half the latest cut in food stamps. But that's the good kind of redistribution, right?

Direct download: December_18_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:46pm EST

Another federal court says NSA surveillance is likely unconsitutional. The post-nuclear Senate has apparently cleared more than a dozen judicial and executive nominations in the past week. What happened to the promised meltdown from Republicans? Is it too early to declare it MIA? Greg Dworkin discusses this, notes the 99 44/100% pure Crazy among Michigan Republicans, Aaron Carroll's Incidental Economist post, "Reducing the number of uninsured is a good thing, not a bad thing," and Boston Globe reporter Billy Baker's Twitter discussion of his "Bus 19" success story. Picking up where he left off, we did a critical read-through of a recent Ezra Klein piece, "Pick your problem: Unemployment or income inequality." Something different: the burgeoning Shia LeBeouf plagiarism scandal/performance art piece. Returning to politics, Senate Republicans have yet to decide how to react to the nuclear option. RWNJ NH state legislator threatens "armed resistance," because of course he does.

Direct download: December_17_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

Ron Fournier's upset again, tweeting that "the Obama White House is no better than past administrations about shading the truth," and that "Obama's apologists will say that every president plays politics with policy in elections years." He's got an article behind it, but I'm pretty sure that last week the problem was "both sides." The first tweet says yes, but the second one says no. I just wish someone would lead! George Washington Bridge scandal continues to roil, sort of, for Chris Christie. An extended look at the year-end review of the collected GunFAIL stories, particularly accidental shootings of kids. Reports out of Florida say 4 in 10 people treated at hospitals for gunshot wounds were the victims of GunFAIL episodes, about double the national rate. And fatal GunFAILs there quadrupled in 2012! And an expansive reading of Joan Walsh's "Poverty nation: How America created a low-wage work swamp."

Direct download: December_16_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:56pm EST

Here's how we wove together a themed show today: We started with National Journal magazine's "The Return of the Welfare Queen," positing that Republicans were reviving the 1980s Reaganite rhetorical relic, and held that up against the "Affluenza" story out of Texas. Which one of these crazy items is the worse "entitlement" anecdotal horror story? Armando joins in to link the discussion to Hobby Lobby, the Bain economy, tax breaks for passive income, the 1% versus the rest, etc. And from there, the Swiss proposal to adopt a national policy of a minimum guaranteed income. Is it contemptible socialism? Or an ultra-conservative "block granting" of all welfare programs into one? At least one conservative says that's just what it looks like. But of course if you bring it up as a liberal, conservative support will disappear, as it has with everything else. About which, see today's Jonathans Report: Chait on the "The Heritage Uncertainty Principle." Also: the NYT smuggles Snowden documents, but is awesome when it does it, unlike Glenn Greenwald, who was clearly so communist-y.

Direct download: December_13_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

Fresh outrage of the day: Fox News is upset that someone wondered whether we couldn't make Santa imagery more inclusive! Greg Dworkin notes the latest ACA figures according to Brainwrap, who's basically "FiveThirtyEight-ing" (or maybe "@Redistrict-ing") the numbers at Also: the budget deal and the continuing Gop civil war; movement on Guantanamo closure; Katie Couric to revisit the HPV vaccine issue, this time with science? Other stories: The fake (and possibly dangerous) sign language interpreter from the Mandela memorial! Megyn Kelly's derpy Santa Claus grousing. But while we're on the subject, how about an anthropological look at where Santa's wacky red suit comes from? Would you believe psychedelic mushrooms? TPM reports "GOPer Who'd Only Lower Flags For Americans Was OK With Pope Tributes." Third party pipe dreams. Eric Cantor finds a way to be a dick about funding pediatric cancer research. David Dayen analyzes in Salon how the budget deal takes yet another piece out of federal workers' hides. Another tech startup dude-bro reveals himself as a giant assbag.
Direct download: December_12_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:40pm EST

Enjoy today's extended segment with Greg Dworkin & Armando! Weather-related school delays in the region of KITM World Headquarters meant we were depending on them to step in, and they delivered! We covered a little bit of everything. The Mandela memorial. The ACA website is working & enrollment is up. The Ryan-Murray budget deal inches forward, taking flak along the way. Is OH Gov. Kasich the last Compassionate Conservative? Armando joins in a long discussion of the Hobby Lobby case, safe harbor provisions, and the concept of conscientious objection. Plus: the Time Person of the Year selection, and rebounding in the polls for the Obama administration. Returning to the conscientious objection issue, we read the fantastic blog post, "Get Your Fake Conscience Objections Off My Lawn." Related: another look at the continuing Twitter exchange between Amanda Carpenter and Brian Beutler. Lastly: NSA discussion. They're monitoring online video games, now. Plus Juan Cole, riffing off of President Obama's speech at the Mandela memorial, notes that even healthy dissent just isn't possible in a surveillance state.

Direct download: December_11_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:30pm EST

An extended kickoff segment with Greg Dworkin and Armando this morning. Greg follows up on the "enhanced medical care" story, highlighting some of the potential problems. In today's Jonathans Report: Chait's "Congressional Republicans Reveal Secret Love for Obamacare." Also noted: approval of the new "Volcker rule." Armando calls in to put some fine points on the issues raised by Chait, and by Brian Beutler's Twitter exchange with Ted Cruz staffer Amanda Carpenter. Armando stuck around for additional discussion of Beutler's report on the wingnut position on the emerging budget deal, and how it might impact a Dem push on unemployment insurance extensions. Next up, discussion of the Republican "reversal" on the sequester. Remember when the reason the "Super Committee" was going to work was because everyone thought sequestration was irresponsible and stupid? Now the wingnuts say it's not just genius, but sacrosanct. Further reading of the Beutler/Carpenter exchange reveals Republicans "fight" the war on Obamacare the same way they did in Iraq: ordering others to do the fighting for them, while they type up complaints online. A brief #GunFAIL update, including the Army's new private gun ownership mentoring program. Newt Gingrich's defense of Mandela praise. And predictably enough, with a Dem in the White House, Republicans consider NSA lies to Congress to be criminal acts. Frivolous wrap-ups: Hipster civil war; Hilton vs. Lohan, in "Celebrity Warlords."

Direct download: December_10_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:08pm EST

The traditional media's favorite game, "Both Sides" forces its way to the fore again, this time with Cokie Roberts telling NPR audiences that yes, conservative critics disgraced themselves by denouncing Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his death, but that she was pretty sure Obama was probably getting some flak from Dems upset that he was including President Bush in the delegation headed to South Africa, too. So, both sides! Greg Dworkin helps us decode it, as he always does, and leads us into discussion of the nature of advocacy journalism, and Third Way-ism. He also notes that alongside the big NYT "Invisible Child" story, there's also their story on "enhanced medical care" for New York's wealthy elite. Huzzah! Plus, for today's poll fix, a summary of the latest McClatchy/Marist survey. Armando calls in for an exchange on the "enhanced medical care" story. And that sets us up with a theme for the rest of the day, neo-libertarianism versus reality, by way of a reading of David Simon's recounting of his speech to the "Festival of Dangerous Ideas," and weekend TV news (and Daily Show) segments featuring conservative "arguments" against addressing inequality and raising the minimum wage.

Direct download: December_9_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:09pm EST

The first hour-plus of the show today was given over to reactions to the death of Nelson Mandela, mostly spent gawking with Armando at unearthed relics of conservative opposition. George Will provides the bulk of the entertainment. The review included Joan Walsh's "Fight the right-washing of Nelson Mandela's legacy,"'s "Remembering The Religious Right's Attacks On Nelson Mandela," and their review of the curious coincidence of the intimate involvement of both Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist in resisting the American anti-apartheid movement (because Freedom). Wacky! Then, we turned back to the Detroit issue, finishing up with the Demos backgrounder, and supplementing its weediness with an explainer from David Sirota, an interview from Josh Eidelson, and an AP report on the next round of the city's screwing.

Direct download: December_6_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:20pm EST

Everybody wants a part of the Ron Fournier millennials game! Except millennials, I guess, because they don't care about anything. Greg Dworkin actually knows what he's talking about, so we let him put the Harvard poll in perspective. He also updated us on the new curveball Chuck Grassley's stupid ACA amendment has thrown lawmakers, the gun-on-campus situation at the University of New Haven, and on Katie Couric's alarming HPV anti-vax segment. In other surprising TV commentary news: Martin Bashir! That pulls Armando into the conversation, as he points us to Egberto Willies' post on the subject, and later segues us into more discussion of how terrible Third Way is. Chuck Schumer pays a visit to Daily Kos. Further explanation of how the Grassley amendment has given Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) a sad, and how Smith's own bill (had it passed) would have made him sadder, still. Brian Beutler adds to our hedging on whether there'll be another government shutdown. Blackwater's founder wants you to know it's a mistake to think they always used excessive force. The proof? One guy once reholstered his gun rather than start taking potshots when in the room with President Bush. Finally, another installment from the Demos explainer on Detroit's fiscal crisis.

Direct download: December_5_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:27pm EST

Third Way is terrible. I say so. Greg Dworkin says so. And Joan McCarter says so. So that's three ways, right there. Greg tells us about the numbers, how Obama is running away from Obamacare by giving a speech about Obamacare, (Why won't this guy lead?), how the journamalisms on the ACA is awful, and about Tom Edsall's NYT piece "The Center Cannot Hold." Then he tried to reassure us there wouldn't be another government shutdown, but we hung up on him. So, we asked Joan about that instead! And also about the Republicans' stealthy non-i-word impeachment hearing, why Third Way is so terrible, what's up with the Detroit bankruptcy, and how Republicans are dusting off the same "$717 billion in Medicare cuts" talking point all over again. Later: the Virginia special election to fill Mark Herring's seat, and some critical background from Demos on the Detroit bankruptcy situation.

Direct download: December_4_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:47pm EST

A grab bag of topics and headlines for today's show. "Cyber" Monday. Fox News tries to inject the impeachment meme again, this time over! says "At Least 1 in 4 Dark Money Dollars in 2012 Had Koch Links." Congressional negotiators are said to be close to a mini budget deal to replace at least part of sequestration's cuts. The NY train derailment's cause: the engineer fell asleep. Spotless, years-long performance record, no drugs, no alcohol, no texting. Just a bad moment. A Wisconsin voucher school is found to be in mid-collapse. By the numbers, this is one of the least productive Congresses ever. (But you knew that.) Gun control advocates are targeted by gun nuts with misogynistic, violent threats, because freedom. RWNJs of the future will one day insist the Constitution requires Republican Party membership. David Pakman's report on a horrible story out of New Mexico, in which police strip-searched a drug suspect and sprayed her vagina with mace! Fox News says swim classes for Muslim girls is Creeping Sharia! A wrap-up on the NSA sex snooping stories.

Direct download: December_3_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:35pm EST

Waking from our post-Thanksgiving slumber to find out the ACA website user interface appears to be working, and that Amazon says they're experimenting with the idea of delivering via drone. Greg Dworkin updates us on the state of the website-turning-the-corner narrative, noting Timothy Egan's op-ed, "Rooting for Failure," new sign-up numbers, and where the storyline is likely to go from here. Also: claims that support for gun control helped Mark Herring win the AG race in Virginia, and Gabby Giffords and Eric Schneiderman write on a new model for background checks at gun shows. Then, a discussion of one reason Sunday shows suck: they're full of pundits who all live the same cloistered lifestyle, and whose job is to sound jaded when they read The Hotline to you, then insist they're geniuses for doing it. No Labels turns out to be a flop. Former Sen. Bob Smith says he's a Republican again, and from New Hampshire again. And last week's Snowden document dump said the NSA is spying on the online web surfing habits of Muslim "radicalizers," but it's OK because none of their stuff ever gets out of control and none of their definitions ever get expanded. Or start out as completely stupid in the first place. Or whatever. Look, just shop. OK?

Direct download: December_2_2013_64.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:05pm EST