Director of U.S. Census resigns – the last thing Republicans want is an accurate 2020 voter count


Punch cards introduced for the 1940 Census – Republicans hated that one, too

❝ The director of the U.S. Census Bureau is resigning, leaving the agency leaderless at a time when it faces a crisis over funding for the 2020 decennial count of the U.S. population and beyond.

John H. Thompson, who has served as director since 2013 and worked for the bureau for 27 years before that, will leave June 30…

❝ The news, which surprised census experts, follows an April congressional budget allocation for the census that critics say is woefully inadequate. And it comes less than a week after a prickly hearing at which Thompson told lawmakers that cost estimates for a new electronic data collection system had ballooned by nearly 50 percent.

No successor for Thompson was announced. A Commerce Department spokesperson said an acting director would be designated “in the coming days” and the position would be filled permanently “in due course.”…

❝ A former Capitol Hill staffer who is knowledgeable about the census said Congress’s mandate for the 2020 Census to cost no more than the 2010 one was unrealistic.

“They’re not accounting for inflation; they’re not accounting for the 30 million more Americans, for the fact that people don’t have hard [telephone] lines anymore. And you’re going to do the census for the same amount of money? That’s not possible.”

Republicans will be in no hurry whatsoever. The official census is used to determine voting districts and Congressional House representation. Even before you get to the criminal impasse Republicans will throw up trying to keep and expand gerrymandered seats they manipulated into place after the 2010 Census.

Democrats may have gotten a whisker smarter about the value of that fight. Republicans, if anything, are more corrupt than any time since the administration of Warren G. Harding.

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Over a million kids in the US have lead poisoning — We’re only treating half of them


Click to enlarge

❝ We’ve long known that despite all our efforts to clean up lead, we have a serious problem with lead poisoning in American children — it’s an egregious and preventable public health issue that just won’t go away.

And it seems the problem is even worse than we thought. Researchers at the Public Health Institute reported…in the journal Pediatrics that the overall number of children with elevated blood lead levels as of 1999-2000 in the US was 1.2 million, or double what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported. (The number is likely even higher now, since testing rates have…declined since 2000.) These kids who are never tested or reported to the CDC also aren’t receiving treatment.

❝ Some states are doing much worse than others, according to the researchers. In the 11 states in dark blue on the map below, including Arizona and Florida, more than 80 percent of children with lead poisoning were not tested by their pediatricians or local health departments. For the other 28 states with data (in medium and light blue), anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of lead-poisoned children weren’t tested.

As for the 12 states in gray, researchers were unable to determine how many cases of lead poisoning were missed, because these states don’t share any data with the CDC…

Perish the thought these turd-brains Americans persist in electing and re-electing actually do something modern about healthcare legislation. Like make it uniform and nationwide. Require states to participate and provide information.

❝ What researchers have learned in recent years is that no level of lead is safe for children. Studies have even shown lead concentration in the blood as low as 2 micrograms per deciliter of blood (μg/dL) can lower IQ in children. And once children have blood lead levels of 5 μg/dL and above (what’s now considered lead poisoning), they can suffer severe neurological damage in the form of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.

❝ How did the counting of lead-poisoned children get so bad? For one, testing for lead is not legally required in most of the US…And…public health departments aren’t asking if there’s missing data when they turn things over to the CDC…

❝ Civil engineers have estimated that overhauling America’s drinking water system and bringing it up to code will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years, but if these investments aren’t made, we risk continuing to poison children with dangerous levels of lead.

Not that this is a priority for Congressional politicians whose single most pressing task — Republican or Democrat – is raising sufficient funds for re-election.

Hundreds of Economists from Left to Right tell Trump immigrants are good for the USofA

❝ Almost 1,500 economists across the political spectrum wrote a letter addressed to President Trump and congressional leaders that praised immigrants as an economic benefit to the United States and implored lawmakers to “modernize our immigration system.”

❝ “As Congress and the Administration prepare to revisit our immigration laws, we write to express our broad consensus that immigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy,” the letter stated in part. “With the proper and necessary safeguards in place, immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers.”

❝ The letter pointed out that immigrants have a positive effect on job creation by creating entrepreneurs who hire American workers; offsetting the retirement of the Baby Boomer population; granting diverse skill sets that help companies grow; and driving economic growth in industries like science, technology, engineering, and math.

The letter writers pointed out that immigration has economic costs, but ultimately said that “the benefits that immigration brings to society far outweigh their costs, and smart immigration policy could better maximize the benefits of immigration while reducing the costs.”…

❝ The crux of the letter — that immigrants are an economic benefit for the country — has been consistently proven true. More than half of U.S. firms that are valued at $1 billion or more, had at least one immigrant co-founder, according to a 2016 National Foundation for American Policy study. One-quarter of engineering and technology companies started in the United States between 2006 and 2012 had at least one founder who was an immigrant. And as the letter writers alluded to, the massive wave of 77 million Baby Boomers retiring between 2010 and 2030 will slow labor force growth. A 2013 Center for American Progress study found that at least two-thirds of all entrants into the workforce, including immigrants, are needed to replace today’s current workers with the additional one-third needed to grow the workforce.

The study doesn’t clarify which immigrants bring an economic boon to the economy. But studies show that all kinds of immigrants — including undocumented ones who contribute $11.74 billion in taxes annually — are integral to the economic health of this country.

I doubt Trump chumps will read any coverage of this letter – much less the letter itself, Or care much for the breadth of economics that endorse the concepts within.

Some of our Congress-critters will respond. A few will understand the economics discussed and fight to build a new understanding of immigration. Trump and his neo-con bubbas will ignore it.

The point remains this is a starting point for the broader fight to build a political fight for real independents to represent the American people in government. Democrat or Independent candidacy isn’t as important as a progressive mindset willing to fight for a future that doesn’t seem to excite or motivate the owners of the two Establishment parties. But, promises to bring American workingclass families a better life than we now have.

Trump promises more subs – even though there’s no one to build them

❝ Donald Trump loves submarines. And America’s submarine industry has every reason to love Trump back. The hawkish, protectionist president has vowed to grow the US Navy, particularly its submarine force, to its biggest size in decades.

But experts agree there’s no realistic way the Trump administration can add the extra subs in time for the former reality television star to plausibly take credit for the build-up. Submarines are just too expensive and complex to build fast…

❝ To produce extra subs, Electric Boat in Connecticut and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, the two shipyards that make all of America’s undersea combat vessels, will need to expand their facilities and add thousands of highly-skilled workers. Congress will need to approve much larger annual shipbuilding budgets, possibly for decades on end. Potentially several presidential administrations will need to sign off on those budgets…

…”More than unrealistic,” in the words of one Congressional insider who works on naval issues but spoke on condition of anonymity. “It would be impossible.”…

And, of course, The Donald lies about the comparative size of our Navy and how and why we need to grow it.

❝ For starters, Trump can’t exactly order a submarine all on his own. Congress writes budgets and appropriates money. And lawmakers might balk at the pricetag of Trump’s sub plan. Buying just one submarine sets taxpayers back around $3 billion. Getting to 66 attack subs could end up costing around $60 billion, according to the Congressional insider.

And that’s only counting construction costs. Operating those subs adds hundreds of millions dollars more per year. Every submarine the Navy adds grows the fleet’s overhead—and Congress knows it.

To build more subs, you not only need space at the shipyard. You also need workers…It can take up to seven years to train a welder qualified to work on nuclear-powered subs…

Trump could outsource the construction. China, India, France and Russia have – for one reason or another – shipyard space that could fill the bill. Hilarious as that would be, I don’t expect it. I do hope the next sensible administration we have – starting with a build-up in the 2018 midterm elections to the 2020 elections – we can start returning funds to useful projects. Instead of fondling the diseased ego of Donald Trump and his fellow travelers in the Republican clown car.

Petition — Remove health-care subsidies for Congress-critters and their families

…Affordable health care is in decline as premiums and health costs increase at exponential rates. Some politicians cannot relate to the cost burden experienced by families across the nation because they’ve historically received health benefits that most Americans have not…

A lot of Members of Congress promote choice as an American value, which is all the more reason for them to have to continue to choose their own health coverage from the free marketplace. If private health care is good for the American citizen, it should also be good for the people that defend it.

If Congress is willing to drastically cut healthcare subsidies for most people, are they willing to have the same rules apply to them and their families?

I’ll second that emotion. Click the link and sign on.

Trumpcare FAIL — as the Republican Party’s repeal of Obamacare pulled from House of Representatives


Thanks Ian Bremmer for the cartoon

Republican repeal of Obamacare fails as healthcare bill pulled from House vote…

Donald Trump suffered a major legislative reversal on Friday as Republicans were forced to pull their repeal of the Affordable Care Act from the House floor…

As it became clear that Republican resistance to the bill was hardening, House speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House to tell Trump in person that he did not have the votes to pass the bill.

However, as the 3.30pm deadline slid by, first reports emerged that Trump had asked for the vote to be pulled.

Minutes later House Republicans, short of votes, had withdrawn the health bill.

Sometimes the truly corrupt get what they deserve. True, there isn’t much difference between Congressional Republicans [or Blue Dog Democrats] and a slug like Donald Trump. Corrupt. Liars. Useless to the real needs of American workers, American working-class families.

Trump is more of a pathological liar than the crafty slime stinking up Congress with each of their several sects, e.g. Tea Party, so-called Freedom Caucus, neo-cons, whatever. So, give him credit for being the worst of the lot.