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Late Night Political Humor

“Take a look at this: gas under $3 a gallon – under $3 a gallon. Unemployment under 6%, whoever thought? Stock market breaking records every day. No wonder the guy is so unpopular.” – David Letterman (on Obama)

“Yesterday was the New York City Marathon. The marathon was won in record time by a Democrat candidate running away from President Obama.” – Conan O’Brien

“Yesterday was the New York City Marathon. Republicans won in a landslide.” – David Letterman

“Politicians are really getting desperate. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent out a final fundraising email to Democrats with the subject line, ‘I’m begging.’ Because what better way to show you’re a strong leader than acting like you’re drunk and dialing your ex?” – Jimmy Fallon

“Tomorrow is Election Day. It’s what they call the midterm elections, and you can cut the indifference with a knife. It’s the day Americans leave work early and pretend to vote.” – David Letterman

“Tomorrow is Election Day. That’s the day we Americans wake up, consider our options, and then remember we didn’t register to vote.” – Conan O’Brien

“Tomorrow is the midterm elections. It’s very important, so don’t forget to head down to your local polling place and cancel out your dad’s vote.” – Seth Meyers

“Anybody last night watch that Wallenda guy? He first went across Niagara Falls, then across the Grand Canyon, and last night he walked between two Chicago skyscrapers. He got his start in this line of work as a White House fence jumper.” – David Letterman

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Everything You Need to Know About the Midterm Elections

Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow

Will Obama open a can of veto whoop-ass? Will anyone do anything about immigration? Will Republicans ever stop talking about Benghazi and start trying to take credit for Obamacare?

Will we survive? Or was this just the warm-up for the next presidential election?

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Late Night Political Humor

“Health officials in countries affected by Ebola are encouraging people to stop shaking hands, and instead give an “Ebola handshake,” which is when you bump elbows with someone. That would be a great idea if they hadn’t spent the past five years telling us to sneeze into our elbows.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Sunday is the New York City Marathon. Good luck to everybody who will be participating. Hillary Clinton, by the way, has not yet deciding whether she’ll be running.” – David Letterman

“Congratulations to the Giants for winning the World Series. Last night in San Francisco, there were big parades, with men dancing in the streets and taking their clothes off. Then they heard about the baseball and things went crazy.” – Craig Ferguson

“Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants! Last night the Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 to win the World Series. Finally, an excuse for the city of San Francisco to have a parade.” – Seth Meyers

“Attorney General Eric Holder said the only person who could play him in a movie is Denzel Washington. Do you know who I think should play Holder? Oprah’s boyfriend, Stedman.” – Jimmy Fallon

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Low Information Voters

Jen Sorensen
© Jen Sorensen

It is naive to think that most people pay any attention to who represents them in government. In fact, only around half of Americans know the party affiliation of their Congressperson. Another quarter didn’t answer, and the final quarter thought they knew, but were wrong.

This is even worse when you realize that if you just randomly guess, you have a 50% chance of guessing right (ignoring third parties). Yup, the percentage of people who know the party affiliation of their representative in Congress is virtually equal to random guessing.
And that’s for a relatively important office.

So without real information, people are going to vote on the basis of who blares out the most ads that appeal to people’s emotions. And this has been true since the first politicians who kissed babies or promised to be “tough on crime”.

And to the politician who is trying to buy votes, there is a strong advantage when the majority of the population are low information voters. It makes it cheaper to buy the votes you want because you don’t have to buy as many.

In some depressing sense, the Supreme Court was right. Money is speech, because words don’t have much actual meaning any more. Heck, we might have better elections if they just paid people to vote for a certain candidate.

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The Oatmeal explains Net Neutrality

Yesterday, I posted strong data showing that Obamacare was increasing competition and (consequently) health insurance costs were rising at the lowest rate in recent history. But of course, the people attacking Obamacare don’t care about facts.

The same day, Obama announced that he was going to fight for net neutrality, and urged the FCC to reclassify broadband networks as common carrier telecommunication services, which are subject to better regulation. It only took a few minutes for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to tweet:

“Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.

Ok, let’s ignore for a moment that Obamacare has almost nothing in common with net neutrality. But sure, now that we have hard data that shows that Obamacare increases competition and reduces costs, I’d go along with something that does the same thing for broadband internet.

The internet is obviously a telecommunication service. I have a telephone in my home, and even though it runs VoIP (Voice over IP), you can’t otherwise distinguish it from a landline telephone. Likewise, email, text messages, and Twitter, Facebook, and on and on … they are all telecommunication services. And the internet is threatened by the same monopoly control that plagued telephone networks before they were regulated as common carriers.

We need more competition in broadband. A large percentage of our population has only a single provider of broadband (and in many cases, what they call broadband has not kept up with the rest of the world). That is not competition. If you are lucky, maybe you have a choice of two providers. Telecoms have been fighting tooth and nail against any competition (Comcast and Time Warner, the two largest cable companies, are even trying to merge into one giant monopoly). I guess Cruz is comparing net neutrality to Obamacare because it will increase competition, and his campaign funders don’t want that.

Now, some people think the whole concept of net neutrality is esoteric and hard to understand. If so, go read the new post of The Oatmeal. He explains net neutrality in a way that even Ted Cruz could understand, and is very entertaining about it. The bottom line is that net neutrality is about freedom. I’d post the whole thing here but you should go read it. Now. You’ll thank me.

By the way, watch all the vague and misleading arguments coming out of the telecoms against net neutrality:

They claim that regulating the internet will kill it, or at least will decrease investment in it, reducing “innovation”. Well, first of all, our telecoms have been asleep at the wheel, and not investing in broadband. Even Bloomberg points out that there is absolutely no evidence that increased regulation in telecom would reduce investment. In fact, from 1998 to 2006, DSL (a form of broadband) was classified as a telecommunication service, and during that time it saw a dramatic increase in investment.

And when it benefited them, telecom companies have been all too happy to get more regulation. For example, in order to get access to public right-of-way, Verizon even asked for its broadband infrastructure to be classified as common carrier. So when Verizon says that regulations are bad, they are talking out of both sides of their mouth.

Telecoms also argue that the government shouldn’t control the internet, but that is absolutely backward. By classifying the internet as a telecommunication service, nobody will be able to control the internet. All internet traffic will be required to be treated equally. The only person able to control what you watch, will be you. Not the government, not your ISP, not some cable company, not an internet backbone company. As The Oatmeal says, net neutrality is about freedom.

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Gotta Love Competition!

So, Obamacare starts its second signup period on the 15th of November. So this is a good time to look back and see what has happened. Are rates going up as much as they used to? Is there more consumer choice? How has Obamacare affected health insurance costs?

Luckily, the annual study of health insurance premium rates done by the McKinsey Center recently came out, so we have some hard (and unbiased) data to evaluate.

Some of their key observations are:

  • Competition and choice are increasing. The number of health insurers in the exchanges increased by 26%, and the number of products grew by 66%. This is excellent news.
  • Gross premiums are likely to increase. The median rate increase – for existing products – is 4% (which is really good, compared to previous years with double-digit increases, and puts the lie to the GOP claim that prices would skyrocket under Obamacare).

    Not only that, but because of increased competition and all those new products, they predict that many people who are seeing rate increases will pick new, less expensive plans, which will reduce real rate increases to less than 2%.

Can anyone remember the last time health insurance rates went up less than 2 percent? Neither can I.

I’m a strong believer in competition. Isn’t it ironic that government regulation of the health insurance industry has unequivocally increased competition? Now consumers have a real marketplace where they can compare products, and figure out which ones give value for money.

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Late Night Political Humor

“The man in charge of investigating the 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal has quit after he himself was caught with a prostitute – which explains why President Obama just appointed an irony czar.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The investigator who led the probe in the Secret Service prostitution scandal was caught with a prostitute. When cops found them together, he said, ‘Hey, I’m investigating here.'” – Conan O’Brien

“David Nieland, the man investigating the Secret Service prostitution scandal, was caught with a prostitute. I don’t know what’s more surprising — that they caught him with a prostitute, or that the Secret Service actually caught someone.” – Jimmy Fallon

“A candidate for governor in Arkansas has revealed he used to be a male stripper. The stripper-turned-candidate is encouraging everyone to head to the polls next Tuesday. And also to go out and vote.” – Craig Ferguson

“The government in Cuba is encouraging citizens to have more children because the country has the lowest number of newborns in Latin America. And nothing gets you in the mood like a direct order from Fidel Castro.” – Seth Meyers

“Sources are saying Russia may have hacked into the White House Internet system. The problem was discovered this morning when suddenly Obama’s screen saver was a shirtless Vladimir Putin.” – Conan O’Brien

“The White House computers were hacked. They stole all of Michelle Obama’s secret kale recipes.” – David Letterman

“I try to be level-headed when you have a problem like the Ebola outbreak. A couple of years ago there was what they call a pandemic. I called my doctor and I asked him what to do in the case of a pandemic. He said to make sure you sterilize your pan.” – David Letterman

“I want to settle everybody down. Let me put this in perspective for you. Your chances of catching Ebola are the same as the Jets chances of making the play-offs.” – David Letterman

“A man in a President Obama mask robbed a store recently. Police describe him as ‘armed and incapable of reforming immigration’.” – Craig Ferguson

“After the Obama mask robbery, someone in a Hillary Clinton mask came in and promised to clean up the mess he left behind.” – Craig Ferguson

“Next month Joe Biden is scheduled to make stops in Turkey, Ukraine, and Morocco to discuss foreign policy issues — while his advisers are learning how to say ‘We’re sorry’ in all three languages.” – Jimmy Fallon

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Distance?

Jon Stewart makes a very good point about Democrats who thought it was smart to distance themselves from the president. Who in the world would ever think that was a good idea? And why did Obama play along with it? Distancing themselves from Obama seems to have made the Democratic loss far worse.

If there is one message that the Democrats should take home from this election disaster is that they have to support each other. Throwing Obama under a bus was complete chicken-shit. With the Republicans attacking Obama right and left, they should have taken a cue from Paul Krugman and pointed out Obama’s successes, along with the total lack of ideas coming from the Republicans, especially on healthcare, financial reform, immigration, education, climate change, the environment, social issues, and economic growth.

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Late Night Political Humor

“During a campaign event, former presidential nominee Bob Dole told the crowd that Mitt Romney should run for president in 2016. If there’s anyone who knows that the third time is a charm, it’s a guy who lost three times.” – Jimmy Fallon

“While Mitt Romney was in Nebraska at a campaign rally to support a local Senate candidate this week, the crowd started chanting, ‘Run, Mitt, Run.’ And now, nobody can find Mitt Romney.” – Seth Meyers

“Cosmo magazine is encouraging female students in North Carolina to vote by offering a party bus to the voting polls that includes shirtless male models — just as our forefathers intended.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama and Michelle Obama went to a parent-teacher conference at their daughters’ school this week. The teachers say their daughters are doing well, but with a few billion more in education funding, they could be doing great.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman says there’s no such thing as man-made global warming. It’s actually not the first controversial statement Coleman has made about the weather. He also said, ‘I’ve been naming all the hurricanes after girls who dumped me in high school.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“For Halloween, a woman in Vermont is handing out kale to trick-or-treaters. If you’re in Vermont and you want to stop by, look for the house that’s been set on fire.” – Conan O’Brien

“Here is a new and important announcement from the CDC: You will not become a Jets fan through casual contact with a Jets fan.” – David Letterman

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Christian Values?

Russell Brand has an excellent rant because a 90-year-old Florida man was arrested for feeding the homeless at his church. Fort Lauderdale recently passed a law prohibiting sharing food with hungry people. Seriously. So much for Christian charity.

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Late Night Political Humor

“Halloween is just a few days away and the Obamas have invited children to go trick-or-treating at the White House on Friday. It will be fun until the Secret Service tackles a kid and says, ‘We finally got one. He’s dressed like a ninja turtle and tried to get in here.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Over the weekend another guy jumped the fence at the White House. This time he was tackled by three security guards. They released him and then later in the day he was signed by the Jets.” – David Letterman

“If you think there’s a lot of people trying to get into the White House now, just wait about a year.” – David Letterman

“Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said today that he has not yet decided whether he will run for president in 2016 — at which point Hillary Clinton took her foot off of his neck.” – Seth Meyers

“Vladimir Putin announced he’s abolishing daylight saving time. He said he doesn’t want to set Russian clocks back. I will say this: He’s done a pretty good job of setting the Russian calendar back — to about 1983.” – Craig Ferguson

“Now that Putin’s gotten rid of daylight savings, it’s just a matter of time before he decides to get rid of daylight altogether.” – Craig Ferguson

“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited an orphanage over the weekend. Well actually, it wasn’t an orphanage when he got there.” – Seth Meyers

“Mayor de Blasio said New Yorkers will not get Ebola from riding the subway. He said, ‘Let’s focus on actual things you might catch on the subway. There’s the SARS virus, bird flu, rat flu, West Nile, East Nile — plenty to choose from. Ebola’s way down the list.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“A new report claims that by the year 2020 the marijuana industry could be bigger than the NFL. Either way, it’s a good time to be in the couch business.” – Conan O’Brien

“Before the World Series game last night, Aaron Lewis from the band Staind botched the National Anthem. To make things worse he started the song with, ‘Are you ready for some football?'” – Conan O’Brien

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Trust, But Verify

The supposed truce between Obama and the GOP continues to go down the drain:

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Lock, Stock Market, and Barrel

I hope everyone reading this blog also keeps up with Matt Taibbi, one of my heroes. Taibbi just published another article in Rolling Stone, pointing out once again (and with lots of facts) how our government is so completely owned by the banking industry.

The article tells the ongoing story of a former manager at Chase who witnessed massive deliberate fraud there – part of the widespread fraud and corruption leading up to the economic crisis. As Taibbi puts it, “It’s theft on a scale that blows the mind.” But despite her offers to help the government go after these criminals, she found out that the feds were instead helping the banks cover it up.

I guess I am angry and disappointed by Eric Holder (who I’m sure acted with Obama’s full knowledge), but I’m not surprised. I’m more disappointed in the American people, who don’t demand that the criminals who committed fraud on a stunning scale, who stole trillions of dollars from Americans and caused the largest financial crisis in our lifetimes, were rewarded by being bailed out by our government and were even given big raises and bonuses. Yes, it pisses me off that Obama didn’t prosecute them. But it pisses me off more that we express our dissatisfaction with Obama by voting in people who want to give even more power and money to the Wall Street criminals.

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Late Night Political Humor

“Yesterday yet another person jumped the White House fence. It happened again. On the bright side, at least Michelle Obama is finally getting more Americans to exercise.” – Conan O’Brien

“Maybe people would stop trying to jump the fence if the first lady weren’t taunting us by growing gardens full of that sweet, sweet kale.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Last night, someone jumped the White House fence again. See, the problem is, if the pizza doesn’t get to Obama in 30 minutes, it’s free. And that comes out of their paycheck.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“A 23-year-old man from Maryland scaled the fence and started running on the White House lawn. He didn’t get very far. He was almost immediately attacked by two Secret Service dogs, which is good news, because I think we finally found a plot for ‘Air Bud 3′.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Fortunate for the intruder, dog bites are covered under Obamacare, so he will be fine.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“There have been seven fence jumps now at the White House so far this year. Maybe it’s time the president gives Joe Biden a key.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“It’s not just Friday. It’s United Nations Day. The U.N. Is the world’s foremost institution for drafting strongly worded letters.” – Craig Ferguson

“Critics have accused the U.N. of being indecisive. To that, the U.N. replied, ‘Uh, not true’.” – Craig Ferguson

“The stock market is going crazy. Earlier this week, Warren Buffett lost $2 billion. Luckily, Buffett found it this morning under a pile of $8 billion.” – Conan O’Brien

“Scientists found they have evidence that human beings had sex with Neanderthals. Apparently the evidence is any episode of the ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’.” – Conan O’Brien

“Kenny G caused a controversy. I never get to say that. He tweeted his support of the Hong Kong protesters. Now China’s communist government is mad at him. China has threatened to pull Kenny G’s music out of all of their elevators.” – Conan O’Brien

“An Apple computer built by Steve Jobs in his garage in 1976 sold for nearly $1 million. It makes it the most affordable Apple product currently on the market.” – Conan O’Brien

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That didn’t take long

Wednesday afternoon, Obama gave a press conference where he congratulated Republicans on their victories, and laid out specific policy issues where he thinks the two sides can and must work together to solve problems for the American people. It is short and I recommend you go watch it.

Some Republicans, including the new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been saying that they are willing to work together with Obama, so when RNC chairman Reince Priebus appeared on CNN Wednesday night it was only natural that he was asked to respond to Obama’s comments about wanting to compromise. Rather than taking Obama’s comments seriously, Priebus shot back “I don’t believe a thing he says.” He then called Obama a liar and a screw-up on immigration reform.

CNN asked Priebus why he isn’t “putting forth a tone that is, ‘alright, let’s do a fresh start and work together.’”

Priebus’ response is telling:

To come back and say, after the American people repudiated the policies of Barack Obama and everyone connected to him and to say, ‘what are you going to do to compromise with the person the American people had just repudiated?’ I think it’s a little bizarre.

CNN then tried hard to ask Priebus about specific policy issues, pointing out that many issues that are traditionally Democratic party priorities and are supported by Obama, including minimum wage, marijuana, gun safety, abortion rights, criminal justice reform, were on the ballots in many states and passed easily. Priebus just ignored her and continued to attack Obama. He claimed that the election “wasn’t just a repudiation of Barack Obama and his policies, it was also an acceptance of Republican policies and governing”.

But did he give even a single example of those “Republican policies and governing”?

It is clear that the message that Republicans are taking away from this election is that attacking Obama worked and they won. Actually, you know, governing, doesn’t matter.

I guess we shouldn’t expect anything to get done over the next two years. I wouldn’t be surprised if they even try to impeach Obama. It is all they know how to do. In fact, I think Priebus attacking Obama on immigration was a calculated attempt to goad the president into doing something unilaterally, so they can use that to impeach him.

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