Unless we change it for the future...
Gov. Chris Christie's administration has pulled the plug on a seven-year-old $118.3 million contract for what had been billed as a “comprehensive and cutting-edge” computer system to make Medicaid, food stamps and other social welfare programs easier to manage, including some that have been hobbled by backlogs, NJ Advance Media has learned.It reminded me that something similar happened in Indiana several years ago.
The state Department of Human Services’ contract with Hewlett Packard to produce the Consolidated Assistance Support System, better known as CASS, “has been terminated, and an analysis is in progress to determine next steps,” department spokeswoman Nicole Brossoie confirmed.
Indiana has ended its troubled $1.3 billion deal with IBM to provide welfare services to the state's neediest families.But the truth is, its happening all over the country.
For months, 13 Investigates has shown you how the largest contract in state history has failed to deliver...
Daniels said IBM was fired for failing to live up to its $1.3 billion deal with the state despite months of warnings to fix the broken system.
In recent years, computer errors have disrupted a wide range of government-run programs across the country, including Medicaid, unemployment benefits and child support payments...The names of companies associated with these failures read like a "who's-who" of corporate giants...Hewlett Packard, IBM, Xerox. But rather than fix the systems, the story seems to be that problems persist, contracts are eventually cancelled, and then the back-and-forth law suits begin to fly. Meanwhile, those depending on these programs suffer.
Such errors happen for many reasons, experts say. States are short-staffed and lack technology experts. They rush out new computer systems before the systems are ready. They fail to oversee IT contractors.
The glitches often take months or even years to fix because technology for poor people is not considered a high priority, according to David Super, a Georgetown University law professor who studies government technology projects.
After hiring dozens of engineers and programmers from tech industry giants like Google and Oracle, the federal government largely fixed problems with the health-care website in about two months. But many states have taken much longer to fix computer errors with welfare programs. Colorado’s troubled system for food stamps and Medicaid has been plagued by glitches and delays for the past decade.
And so this afternoon in a real sense they have something to say to each of us in their death. They have something to say to every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained-glass windows. They have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism. They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing northern Republicans. They have something to say to every Negro who has passively accepted the evil system of segregation and who has stood on the sidelines in a mighty struggle for justice. They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream.When Dr. King quoted the scripture that says "Until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream," he was referring to something much bigger than what one police officer or one prosecutor does. And it was something much more audacious than what happens in a court room.
One clue might be the contents of a memo written by Holder in 1999, during his stint as deputy U.S. attorney general. The document, “Bringing Criminal Charges Against Corporations,” urged prosecutors to take into account “collateral consequences” when pursuing cases against companies, lest they topple and take the economy down with them. Holder also raised the possibility of deferring prosecution against corporations in an effort to spur greater cooperation and reforms...I would suggest that Holder's concept of justice is more in line with the one articulated by Dr. King. First of all, it took into consideration what justice would mean for all of the innocent people who would be impacted by the prosecution of a corporation. But secondly, more than sending perpetrators to jail, he had his eyes on reforming "the system, the way of life, the philosophy that produced" the crimes.
Prison should always be a last resort, and only for someone who will put others at risk with predatory behavior. It doesn't work as a deterrent. As a punishment, it is barbaric. My concept of a just and better world has almost nobody in prison, not even people I hate or who have done bad things. The whole thing has to be rethought...A re-thinking of what justice means would require us to consider the affirmative rather than simply the reactionary. One place to start might be with the words of Bryan Stevenson: "The opposite of poverty is not wealth. Its justice." When I think about what that means, it gets the brain synapses going in a whole different direction than jail = justice. And I can begin to imagine what it would mean for justice to roll down like waters.
“Yes, there’s a risk to overreacting, but there’s a risk to underreacting as well,” said Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review. “And I fear that’s the way the congressional leadership is leaning.”Apparently, this is becoming "a thing" within the
Mr. Lowry suggested one way Congress could react. “If I were John Boehner,” he said, referring to the House speaker, “I’d say to the president: ‘Send us your State of the Union in writing. You’re not welcome in our chamber.’”
But I have asserted a firm conviction — a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people — that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.The other thing that most of the great religions teach us is that engaging in the struggle is redemptive. In the Christian tradition, the gospels tell us that "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." God is therefore not one to keep his distance. The life and death of Jesus chronicle the story of his willingness to "walk in our shoes"... to suffer the pain of isolation and rejection.
For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances — for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives — by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny...
In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination — and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past — are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds — by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.
In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.
As Morehouse Men, many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider; know what it’s like to be marginalized; know what it’s like to feel the sting of discrimination. And that’s an experience that a lot of Americans share...
So your experiences give you special insight that today’s leaders need. If you tap into that experience, it should endow you with empathy -- the understanding of what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, to know what it’s like when you're not born on 3rd base, thinking you hit a triple. It should give you the ability to connect. It should give you a sense of compassion and what it means to overcome barriers...
So it’s up to you to widen your circle of concern -- to care about justice for everybody, white, black and brown. Everybody. Not just in your own community, but also across this country and around the world. To make sure everyone has a voice, and everybody gets a seat at the table.
America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions. The America in which it was otherwise is dying, thank god, and those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance.
When he stopped, he turned, looked at me, made like a grunting noise and had the most intense, aggressive face I've ever seen on a person. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon. That's how angry he looked.According to Wilson's testimony, that's when he started shooting.
Before I could even get out of my car he jumped out, stared at me, and as I jumped out of my car and identified myself, as I approached him, he jumped head-first back into his car … he jumped out of the car. I saw something black in his hands.The only problem for Groubert is that in that case, that there was an actual video of what happened.
So let us accord him the benefit of the doubt because in situations like this, people always want to make it a question of character. And the shooter’s friends always feel obliged to defend him with the same tired words: “He is not a racist.”When I read Darren Wilson's words, it seemed obvious to me that he was also reacting to that primal fear buried deep in his breast. That's what most racism looks like these days. And that's why so many unarmed black boys are dying.
He probably isn’t, at least not in the way they understand the term.
But what he is, is a citizen of a country where the fear of black men is downright viral. That doesn’t mean he burns crosses on the weekend. It means he’s watched television, seen a movie, used a computer, read a newspaper or magazine. It means he is alive and aware in a nation where one is taught from birth that thug equals black, suspect equals black, danger equals black...
The Groubert video offers an unusually stark image of that fear in action. Viewing it, it seems clear the trooper is not reacting to anything Jones does. In a very real sense, he doesn’t even see him. No, he is reacting to a primal fear of what Jones is, to outsized expectations of what Jones might do, to terrors buried so deep in his breast, he probably doesn’t even know they’re there.
Don’t let yourself get lost in the weeds. Don’t allow yourself to believe that opposition to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration is only about that issue, the president’s tactics, or his lack of obsequiousness to his detractors.But does anyone else get the feeling like he's trying to say something while walking on egg shells? His message is basically the same one I talked about in: Understanding the Threat of a Confederate Insurgency. But he hides behind words like "systems of power" and "power of symbols" and never gets around to saying anything about what those systems and symbols represent: racism.
This hostility and animosity toward this president is, in fact, larger than this president. This is about systems of power and the power of symbols. Particularly, it is about preserving traditional power and destroying emerging symbols that threaten that power. This president is simply the embodiment of the threat, as far as his detractors are concerned, whether they are willing or able to articulate it as such.
They are of course linked: If Obama is unpopular, a Clinton campaign will be tempted to present a sharp contrast. At the same time, the President will likely remain popular with the core Democratic base that she needs to harness. But the record tells us that, however the Obama presidency is faring like in its final months, it's going to influence his aspiring successor's White House ambitions.Former Clinton staffers Douglas Schoen and Patrick Caddell make no bones about where they come down on that one. They weigh in with: Obama is Damaging Hillary's Chances.
Jon Krosnick, Wendy Gross, and colleagues at Stanford and Kaiser ran large surveys to measure public understanding of the ACA and how it was associated with approval of the law. They found that accurate knowledge about what’s in the bill varied with party identification: Democrats understood the most and liked the law the most, independents less, and Republicans understood still less and liked the law the least. However, attitudes were not just tribal. Within each party, the more accurate your knowledge of the law, the more you liked it.These researchers found that in the unlikely event that the public had a perfect understanding of the law, approval of it would go from 32% to 70%. That's the price we pay for an uninformed public.
If you’re prognosticating about PBO’s action on immigration & not listening to Jorge Ramos…whiff pic.twitter.com/8SGYhOLgfHIt was inspired by this article from Michael Scherer about Ramos.
— Nancy LeTourneau (@Smartypants60) November 20, 2014
...a 1994 ballot initiative to establish a state-run citizenship screening system and prohibit illegal aliens from using health care, public education, and other social services in the U.S. State of California.Remember last week when I talked about how the West Coast states went from red to blue? In hindsight, a lot of people credit that change in California to backlash from the passage of that proposition.
I suspect that President Obama has learned to glide. And that's what allows him to - as Michelle describes - play the long game.The labouring through what is still undone,as though, legs bound, we hobbled along the way,is like the awkward walking of the swan.And dying - to let go, no longer feelthe solid ground we stand on every dayis like his anxious letting himself fallinto the water, which receives him gentlyand which, as though with reverence and joy,draws back past him in streams on either side;while, infinitely silent and aware,in his full majesty and ever moreindifferent, he condescends to glide.
Here's the thing about my husband: even in the toughest moments, when it seems like all is lost, Barack Obama never loses sight of the end goal. He never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise, even if it comes from some of his best supporters. He just keeps moving forward.
And in those moments when we're all sweating it, when we're worried that the bill won't pass or the negotiation will fall through, Barack always reminds me that we're playing a long game here. He reminds me that change is slow — it doesn't happen overnight.
If we keep showing up, if we keep fighting the good fight and doing what we know is right, then eventually we will get there.
We always have.
Anytime you challenge the president, Obama, it’s good politics.In other words, Republicans don't need to bother saying what they are FOR. It works for them to simply be against anything President Obama wants to do.
I've actually been watching almost no politically related television for the simple reason that almost none of it has anything to do with the upcoming elections, let alone actual issues that might be taken up by the next Congress. The media has been keeping the country almost in an election blackout, with coverage mostly related to conflict in the Middle East and the Ebola virus.But that kind of media coverage isn't limited to elections. As things heat up about President Obama's upcoming announcement about immigration, Ed Kilgore is one of the few people who is pointing out that there's a big gaping hole where the Republican position should be.
If you’re going to harshly criticize Obama for taking a more definitive position on prosecutorial guildelines, you need to identify some alternative strategy. Is it more police dogs and box cars? Is it random prosecution, hoping the fear of arbitrary state power makes life difficult enough for the undocumented that they “self-deport?” “Wait!” won’t cut it any more.As I wrote yesterday, this is the question that Republicans should have to answer.
This is an era of titanic challenges and tiny politics. On issue after issue, the Republican and Democratic parties preen and pose but ultimately duck their responsibilities to solve the transcendent problems of our times.And here's Todd cribbing off of Fournier.
On immigration, we need durable new rules that give 11 million illegal immigrants some form of legalization without punishing those who followed the old rules, and that acknowledge the steep social costs of porous borders. In other words, true reform would be bipartisan, addressing credible concerns of conservatives and liberals alike.
Instead, we're about to get temporary half-measures issued by fiat from Obama.
But as we’ve noted before, what separates our current era of politics from past ones is the unwillingness to give the opposition ANY kind of “win.” Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill didn’t agree on much and fought over plenty, but they compromised enough on the low-hanging fruit for Americans to have faith in the political system. Ditto George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy when it came to education reform. Yet what’s different today is that there’s no compromise on the low-hanging fruit. And EVERYTHING now turns into a huge political battle, even on subjects that weren’t controversial decades ago...I have to give it to Paul Krugman, he nailed the idiocy of this kind of punditry.
Well, I’ve know for years that many political pundits don’t think that understanding policy is part of their job. But this is still extreme. And I’m sorry to go after an individual here — but for God’s sake, don’t you have to know something about the actual content of a policy you critique?The truth is, Fournier and Todd don't really need to bother their pretty little heads with policy. A simple short-term memory on how we got here would suffice. Just last year a "gang of eight" Senators (4 D's and 4 R's) got together to hammer out the differences the two parties have about immigration reform: Republicans wanted more border security and Democrats wanted a pathway to citizenship for those who are undocumented. Bipartisanship reigned when they compromised and included both in a bill that passed the Senate 68-32.
The opposition party would like the president to not be associated with bipartisan initiatives. And the opposition party has it in their power to make sure that the president is not associated with bipartisan initiatives.That might be one of the best summaries you'll see of why the politics of DC isn't working these days. Republicans aren't likely to change their approach as long as its "working" for them. But our post-policy punditry could get the ball rolling by recognizing that bipartisanship requires that both sides actually put their positions on the table.
If you don't understand that, you'll never understand today's politics. Worse, you'll be consistently making bipartisanship less likely.
"I don't see how the party that says it's the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter of a century," said Gingrich.While our pundit class simply sees all this as a power play between Republicans and Democrats, its important to keep in mind that it is the lives of children/young people like Diane that are at stake.
After the U.S. forces won on the battlefield in 1865 and shattered the organized Confederate military, the veterans of that shattered army formed a terrorist insurgency that carried on a campaign of fire and assassination throughout the South until President Hayes agreed to withdraw the occupying U. S. troops in 1877. Before and after 1877, the insurgents used lynchings and occasional pitched battles to terrorize those portions of the electorate still loyal to the United States. In this way they took charge of the machinery of state government, and then rewrote the state constitutions to reverse the postwar changes and restore the supremacy of the class that led the Confederate states into war in the first place.Let that one sink in for a moment, white folks. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it all. That's what happens when it turns out that a story you've been told all your life doesn't really capture what happened. All the links to meaning that have been created by believing the story have to be re-examined as well. That is the path each of us must take if we're ever going to be successful at "undoing racism" in our own lives.
By the time it was all over, the planter aristocrats were back in control, and the three constitutional amendments that supposedly had codified the U.S.A’s victory over the C.S.A.– the 13th, 14th, and 15th — had been effectively nullified in every Confederate state. The Civil Rights Acts had been gutted by the Supreme Court, and were all but forgotten by the time similar proposals resurfaced in the 1960s. Blacks were once again forced into hard labor for subsistence wages, denied the right to vote, and denied the equal protection of the laws. Tens of thousands of them were still physically shackled and subject to being whipped, a story historian Douglas Blackmon told in his Pulitzer-winning Slavery By Another Name.
So Lincoln and Grant may have had their mission-accomplished moment, but ultimately the Confederates won. The real Civil War — the one that stretched from 1861 to 1877 — was the first war the United States lost.
The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries...That is the sentiment we hear when both citizens and political leaders talk about "second amendment remedies" and rally round things like this:
The Confederate sees a divinely ordained way things are supposed to be, and defends it at all costs. No process, no matter how orderly or democratic, can justify fundamental change.
From the perspective of those who are entitled, the problems begin when those they despise do not go along with—and have the power and wherewithal to not go along with—the perceived entitlement...Change to our "social order" is coming, whether we like it or not. The traditions, economics, religion that mask our entitlement are being stripped away and the hate is becoming more perceptible. As a result, the confederate insurgency is threatening to explode.
Several times I have commented that hatred felt long and deeply enough no longer feels like hatred, but more like tradition, economics, religion, what have you. It is when those traditions are challenged, when the entitlement is threatened, when the masks of religion, economics, and so on are pulled away that hate transforms from its more seemingly sophisticated, "normal," chronic state—where those exploited are looked down upon, or despised—to a more acute and obvious manifestation. Hate becomes more perceptible when it is no longer normalized.
Another way to say all of this is that if the rhetoric of superiority works to maintain the entitlement, hatred and direct physical force remains underground. But when that rhetoric begins to fail, force and hatred waits in the wings, ready to explode.
They [Republican leadership] really would be super-mad, not least because it would highlight their own impotence. In that state, they might well do something rash...And they'll be getting plenty of encouragement from the conservative media, for whom impeachment would be a ratings bonanza.Whether you agree with Waldman's predictions or not, at least he is giving President Obama credit for knowing what he's doing. In other words, regardless of the outcome, Waldman is acknowledging that this President is neither lucky nor naive...just intelligent enough to have a strategy.
Barack Obama knows all this, of course. He obviously feels that the particular immigration steps he's contemplating are the right thing to do, and he understands that Republicans are never, ever going to pass a comprehensive reform bill that would be remotely acceptable to him. But he also knows that taking executive action will drive them batty, making some kind of emotional outburst on their part more likely. Which would end up being good for him and bad for them.
In a fit of postelection modesty, President Barack Obama is offering not to take executive action to amnesty millions of illegal immigrants — provided Republicans do his bidding on immigration.As an aside, if you had trouble reading that first sentence like I did, its because conservatives have fallen so in love with the word "amnesty" that they've started using it as a verb as well as a noun.
It is extortion as conciliation. New Jersey governor Chris Christie often invites comparisons to The Sopranos, but it is President Obama who is making a tactic taken out of the HBO mob drama his major postelection initiative. His bipartisan outreach now ends with a pointed “Or else . . . ”
This offer Republicans can’t refuse includes the stipulation that the president will revoke his executive action in the event they pass legislation to his liking. How generous of him.
A panel of legal scholars and lawyers assembled by the American Bar Association is sharply criticizing the use of "signing statements" by President Bush that assert his right to ignore or not enforce laws passed by Congress.The most egregious of these happened when Congress passed a bill banning cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment (i.e., torture) of prisoners at U.S. detention centers. President Bush issued a signing statement basically saying, "Meh...I'll ignore that one when I want to." And of course we all know now that he DID ignore it. Those signing statements were part and parcel of Dick Cheney's commitment to the establishment of an "imperial presidency."
In a report to be issued today, the ABA task force said that Bush has lodged more challenges to provisions of laws than all previous presidents combined.
The panel members described the development as a serious threat to the Constitution's system of checks and balances, and they urged Congress to pass legislation permitting court review of such statements.
"The president is indicating that he will not either enforce part or the entirety of congressional bills," said ABA president Michael S. Greco, a Massachusetts attorney.
By far the biggest chunk of people not in the labor force are people who simply don’t want to be, according to data from the monthly Current Population Survey...Last month, according to BLS, 85.9 million adults didn’t want a job now, or 93.3% of all adults not in the labor force.Pew goes on to take a look at a subset of those who have dropped out of the labor force - those that are called "marginally attached." This includes those who want a job, but haven't looked for one in the last 4 weeks. Here are the reasons they give for that:
The number of unemployed vying for each available job is dropping to the point that bigger wage increases are probably in store for Americans.For some perspective on that, they provide this graph:
About two jobless workers were pursuing each opening in September, the fewest since early 2008 and down from almost seven in July 2009 at the depths of the last recession, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from a Labor Department report issued today in Washington.
The 2-to-1 ratio is the threshold that typically leads to larger pay increases in about six months as employers compete for a dwindling talent pool, according to research by economists at UBS Securities LLC.
At every level, governments are facing big deficits as the weak economy diminishes tax revenues at the very same time that the bill is coming due on decades of irresponsible spending increases, entitlement promises and pension promises. As I proved in Minnesota, these problems can be solved without tax increases.Ummm...just one problem, Tim. You must have forgotten about that $400 million in revenue from a cigarette
Jarrett’s work behind the scenes served the president well so long as people like Larry Summers, Rahm Emanuel, and Robert Gibbs . . . remained inside the building. She diversified the views he received without stifling internal debate. But then, one by one, the big personalities left.Milbank added this:
Of course, there is a danger in bringing in big personalities rather than loyalists, and Obama has suffered the consequences of his first-term “team of rivals” in the kiss-and-tell memoirs by Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates and, particularly, Leon Panetta. Yet he has done himself more harm filling top positions with loyalists.As I wrote months ago, those "loyalists" shared one legacy-making goal with President Obama: a desire to tackle climate change. For example, there is White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough:
Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, is best known for two things: his national security chops—he had key roles on the White House National Security Council—and the high regard in which he’s held by President Obama. McDonough has been part of Obama’s inner circle for nearly a decade, and the president has called his new chief of staff one of his “closest and most trusted advisers.”And how about White House Counselor John Podesta?
Here’s what a lot of people don’t know about McDonough: He has a background on climate change, and he takes the issue very seriously. “Denis McDonough understands the threat posed by climate change to national security more than any White House chief of staff in the 21st century,” said Daniel J. Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress.
The deal-sealer for Podesta, who has vowed to stay for only a year, was Obama’s assurance that he would be given broad oversight of the administration’s climate change agenda...And here is where the template for Podesta in action might first become apparent: With chances of major legislation on climate change all but dead given congressional opposition, Podesta will push for aggressive executive action, in addition to backstopping new Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy on controversial new emissions guidelines for power plants.But perhaps the "loyalist" most responsible for the announcement of a deal with China today is Secretary of State John Kerry. Let's go back to something Coral Davenport wrote about that almost a year ago.
His goal is to become the lead broker of a global climate treaty in 2015 that will commit the United States and other nations to historic reductions in fossil fuel pollution...I suppose there is a lot to be said for creating a "team of rivals." But its also true that it helps to have people on your team who share your vision. When it comes to climate change, we're starting to see the results of the latter.
“He’s pushing to get climate to be the thing that drives the U.S. relationship with China,” said Timothy E. Wirth, a former Democratic senator from Colorado who now works on climate change issues with the United Nations Foundation...
“It has not gone unnoticed that this administration is now much more engaged on climate change,” said Jake Schmidt, the international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Every international negotiator understands it.” When Mr. Kerry took office, Mr. Schmidt said, “the dynamic changed quite a bit.”
A little over a year ago, Ta-Nehisi Coates surprised himself (and everyone else) when he told Ezra Klein that he had become uncharacteristi...