Chart of the day

Well, I cannot come up with a more succinct title than the original, “These charts show how Democrats represent the growing modern economy – and how Republicans are left behind.”  Via CNBC:

Now, new Brookings calculations show the same from 2018 House elections. With a few races still undecided, districts won by Democrats account for 61 percent of America’s gross domestic product, districts won by Republicans 38 percent.

That economic separation underpins cultural divisions that usually command more attention. Says Brookings researcher Mark Muro: “The Democratic Party and Republican Party, at this point, really do occupy different economic worlds and represent different economic worlds.”

Analysis by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program documents the gap between them. Residents of districts won by Democrats generate 22% more output per worker, and have a 15% higher median household income.


We have one political party that believes in science

So, that’s not exactly new, but the premise of this article in the Post is that it has become worse under Trump.  I’m not so sure that Trump is driving the bus on this as much as he just happened to get on the bus in the front seat (or some-such metaphor), but the reality is this is not doing the planet any favors and probably making open anti-science denialism more prevalent in the Republican party:

Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said falsely in the lead-up to her campaign that the Earth has started to cool, and argued inaccurately that scientists have not reached a consensus on climate change.

In Florida, which has been pummeled by hurricanes, Sen.-elect Rick Scott has acknowledged rising and warmer seas could be harmful to his state but won’t attribute it to human activity.

And Sen. John Neely Kennedy, who is expected to announce Monday whether he will run for Louisiana governor, told reporters last week that while the Earth may be getting hotter, “I’ve seen many persuasive arguments that it’s just a continuation of the warming up from the Little Ice Age.”

As President Trump’s rejection of climate science isolates the United States on the world stage, illustrated by the small U.S. delegation dispatched to this week’s United Nations climate summit in Poland, he has also presided over a transformation in the Republican Party — placing climate change skepticism squarely in the GOP’s ideological mainstream. [emphasis mine]

Yeah, ultimately I just don’t believe that emphasized portion.  Sure, there’s been some Republicans in the past who were half-decent on the issue, but this denialism has pretty much always been in the GOP mainstream.  It’s not like Trump has a lot of original ideological ideas beyond that which enriches him is good and non-white immigrants are bad.

Anyway, it really is kind of amazing that our very own Republican party is pretty much the only major political party in the democratic world that actually denies the reality of climate change.  There is quite a lot of damning stuff about today’s GOP, but, this is really up there.  And really depressing.  Because it’s getting hot in here and that takes bipartisan solutions.

The best evidence yet for too many scandals

Is that most people have no idea who Alexander Acosta is and that he still has his job.  This is nuts.  Michele Goldberg with a nice summary of the key facts:

It is the perverse good fortune of Alexander Acosta, Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, to be part of an administration so spectacularly corrupt that it’s simply impossible to give all its scandals the attention they deserve. [emphases mine]

Last Wednesday, The Miami Herald published a blockbuster multipart exposé about how the justice system failed the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, a rich, politically connected financier who appears to have abused underage girls on a near-industrial scale. The investigation, more than a year in the making, described Epstein as running a sort of child molestation pyramid scheme, in which girls — some in middle school — would be recruited to give Epstein “massages” at his Palm Beach mansion, pressured into sex acts, then coerced into bringing him yet more girls. The Herald reported that Epstein was also suspected of trafficking girls from overseas.

What’s shocking is not just the lurid details and human devastation of his alleged crimes, but the way he was able to use his money to escape serious consequences, thanks in part to Acosta, then Miami’s top federal prosecutor. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Acosta took extraordinary measures to let Epstein — and, crucially, other unnamed people — off the hook.

The labor secretary, whose purview includes combating human trafficking, has done nothing so far to rebut The Herald’s reporting. (A spokesman for his department has referred reporters to his previous statements about the case.) It should end his career. The story might have been overshadowed by last week’s cascading revelations in the Trump-Russia scandal, or the news that acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker knew of numerous fraud complaints against a company he advised, to take just two examples of administration lawlessness. But while Acosta’s record covering up for a depraved plutocrat makes him a good fit for the Trump administration, it should disqualify him from public service.

Given what’s been uncovered here, I’ll be really surprised if Acosta is still in his job a few months from now.  But the fact that this is a metaphorical buried in the paper story really speaks to the “scandal fatigue” of the Trump administration.  It is literally difficult to keep up with and pay attention to all the awfulness going on in the swampiest swamp ever (it’s like there’s mutant 30 foot alligators in there).

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