Ana Marie Cox: Statisticians dismiss the practice of using personal stories to argue about an objective reality as "anecdata," but it might be more accurate to call the "Obamacare horror stories" that have taken over social media "urban legends." ... The failure of the exchanges created an information vacuum as far as Obamacare successes went; in rushed the individual stories of those who claimed to have been hurt by the changes to the market. It didn't matter that these stories are, even without enrollment numbers from the exchanges, demonstrably unrepresentative! Only a fraction of Americans, 5%, even have the kind of policies that could have been cancelled. ... The through line that connects all of the Obamacare legends is the sense of powerlessness that's also the tenuous thread binding together a fracturing GOP. read more
Former Senator Rick Santorum, CEO of faith-based Echolight Studios, announced today that he is producing a remake of "Brokeback Mountain" in which the central characters are not gay. In an interview on Fox News this morning, the conservative Catholic said his film company has purchased a "pro-family, pro-Christian" rewrite of the script and are looking to start production in April. read more
Paul Rosenberg, Salon: Hilary Hoynes is a University of California at Berkeley economist who wrote a particularly notable paper last year. Instead of increasing dependency, as conservative critics have repeatedly claimed, Hoyen's paper showed that, for women at least, food stamp use during pregnancy and early childhood has exactly the opposite impact of what conservatives allege: It actually increases economic self-sufficiency when children grow up, in the next generation. ... Hoynes herself said, "This work indicates that there are important benefits of the safety net that to date have been ignored. They predict that a more generous safety net can reduce health disparities. More generally, the emerging evidence points to an important role for investments in early life -- and those investments generate important returns in terms of better health and economic outcomes in adulthood." read more
Sally Kohn, The Daily Beast: [O]ur forbearers would be appalled by how right-wing conservatives are trying to use government to force their religious views on all of us. Make no mistake, this is what Hobby Lobby wants to do -- use government to push a conservative religious agenda. ... This corporation, which already takes advantage of special government benefits by incorporating as a private business in the first place (entitling Hobby Lobby to tax benefits and liability shelters to which individuals alone are not entitled), wants to use its government-created corporate status with the help of government-run courts not just to express its religion on a poster or what have you but to force its employees to comply with the supposed religion of the corporation's founders. This is, plain and simple, a corporation trying to contort government to impose the religious views of some onto many. This is precisely what our nation was founded against.
While most Americans like the idea of drug testing for welfare recipients, they LOVE the idea of drug testing for members of Congress.