Thursday, September 4, 2014

Good News Thursday!

Perhaps the fever swamp of summer silly season is finally over. Today we're actually hearing some good news.

Back in July, two District Court judges ruled that subsidies to purchase health insurance were excluded from people living in states that had their exchanges run by the federal government. If left to stand, this dealt a huge blow to the funding mechanism incorporated into Obamacare. Today, the entire DC circuit vacated that ruling.
In practical terms, this means that July’s judgment cutting off subsidies to consumers who buy insurance plans in federally-operated health exchanges is no more. It has ceased to be. It is, in fact, an ex-judgment.
And further:
Now that the full DC Circuit has vacated the two Republican judges’ July judgement, Supreme Court review is much less likely.
In other words, "goodbye Halbig, and good riddance!"

In the area of deeds being MUCH more significant than words, the DOJ's Civil Rights Division has expanded their investigation beyond just the shooting of Michael Brown and will now investigate the entire operation of local law enfacement in Ferguson.
The investigation, which could be announced as early as Thursday afternoon, will be conducted by the Justice Department’s civil rights division and follow a process similar to that used to investigate complaints of profiling and the use of excessive force in other police departments across the country, the officials said...

The federal officials said the probe will look not only at Ferguson but also at other police departments in St. Louis County. Some, like Ferguson, are predominantly white departments serving majority-African-American communities, and at least one department invited the Justice Department to look at its practices.
Just in case you're keeping count...
The number of police department reviews the Justice Department has initiated under Holder for possible constitutional violations is twice that of any of his predecessors. At least 34 other departments are under investigation for alleged civil rights violations.
Finally, it might be time to start re-thinking that whole "Republican wave" meme about the 2014 Senate races. Last week Sam Wang (who actually did better at predicting the 2012 elections than Nate Silver) pointed out that most models don't rely simply on polling, but also incorporate something called "fundamentals." This basically means that - especially early on - they make their predictions based on "prior conditions like incumbency, candidate experience, funding, and the generic Congressional ballot." Given that most of these races are taking place in "red states," it should come as no surprise that these prior conditions gave the Republican candidate the edge.

But as the models switch to rely more on actual polling, something interesting is happening.
On July 15, Election Lab, The Post's election model, gave Republicans an 86 percent chance of winning the six seats they needed to take over the Senate majority. Today -- 50 days later -- it gives Republicans only a 52 percent chance of winning the majority.
According to John Sides, "Democratic candidates are currently overperforming how past history suggests they should be doing in a number of races." Wang (who relies solely on polls) has the probability of Democrats maintaining control of the Senate at 90% today and 85% on election day.

So hold on to your hats folks, we've got two months to go and the fat lady ain't sung yet ;-)

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