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Do Anti-Obamacare Ads Increase Enrollment?

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Anti-ACA Ad Spending photo 140712anti-ACAadspending_zps2ac991b7.pngThough intended to serve at least two purposes, the $450 million spent on anti-Affordable Care Act (ACA) ads have failed their purpose(s) and may have unintentionally informed the uninsured that they have a path to healthcare coverage. The other intent, to support Republican candidates by inference, may also backfire.

The correlation of negative ad spending to enrollment is not direct and is affected by demographics, but research prepared by Brookings Institution fellow Niam Yaraghi provides some very interesting data. The chart for the television markets that encompass Virginia shows raw spending data from 2013 (national TV market map and data). This is not per capita data, so cannot be used for an accurate correlation, but it is informative. And Yaraghi does point out that the market where the highest per capita spending occurred, Washington, D.C., had the highest Obamacare enrollment rate, 11%.

In the states where more anti-ACA ads are aired, residents were on average more likely to believe that Congress will repeal the ACA in the near future. People who believe that subsidized health insurance may soon disappear could have a greater willingness to take advantage of this one time opportunity.

What is also clear from the spending data is that this advertising is aimed at assisting Republicans in states with the most competitive mid-term Senate races: Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. The aim is probably as much voter suppression as it is support for the Republican candidates. In Virginia, these ads may influence the outcome of two Congressional races (7th and 10th) more than the U.S. Senate race not only because Senator Warner has a nuanced position on the ACA but also because his opponent is a cold fish.  

From the Trenches, A Reminder: Don’t North Carolina Virginia

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Here's yet another example of how low you can go if you capitulate to the Tea Party and their benefactors in Virginia this November. North Carolina just reversed a despicable position that had meant North Carolina's WIC recipients wouldn't have help during the partial government shutdown. But it shouldn't gone gone "there" in the first place. It's a disgrace.

In the face of a partial government shutdown, those receiving food under the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) were left hung out to dry, or rather starve. Every other state in the nation gave their WIC recipients vouchers to buy food, but not North Carolina. And in true Tea Party form, Aldona Wos, the righteous radical wrong-wing horror that is the head of our state DHHS (who has crippled our state Medicaid program both by policy and incompetence) blamed guess whom?  Why the President of course.  

Virginia: Be Forewarned How Quickly and Severely a State Can Go...

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I didn't move to North Carolina for its politics. But I must confess it was one of the things that buoyed me as I prepared to leave Virginia after 30 years to be nearer to family. Despite the recent win of the GOP in the General Assembly (GA), North Carolina was still a progressive state.  And we had a Democratic governor. A little over a year ago, it was unthinkable that NC would surrender its entire progressive list of 20th and 21st century accomplishments. But thanks to an extreme Texas-style gerrymander, which suppressed the representation of Democrats, what the majority in North Carolina want no longer matters. The Tea Party took over in 2008 and grabbed even more seats in 2012. And so the North Carolina GA began to march in lock step with states like Wisconsin and Texas.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina legislature acts daily at the behest of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bill mill. Though ALEC-driven look-alike legislation has appeared in numerous states, NC is a new experiment on how quickly and extremely the GA can force a Koch-friendly Tea Party state. How hard can it be with Koch buddy and fellow Americans for Prosperity funder, Art Pope, sitting as the state's budget director? Pope and the network of state and national PACs and non-profits was the biggest factor in the GOP win.  And now there he sits, pulling the budgetary strings.

There's much more below the fold...

Don’t North Carolina Virginia: NC Equates Women to Motorcycles!

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Behold the NC General Assembly(GA), an institution which has been hijacked by the Tea Party. In the latest affront to majority mainstream voters, yesterday the NC House of Delegates continued with its wrecking ball to the 20th and early 21st centuries. Under the guise of making abortion clinics "safer," it came up with its own version of the NC Senate effort to shutter all but one women's health clinics in North Carolina. Following the mocking the Senate took for restricting abortion as part of an anti-Sharia law bill, the House got a "better idea." Essentially the HoD equated women with motorcycles. That's right. To protect "these women" the haughty, arrogant, US Taliban tacked onto a motorcycle provision rules which essentially end the availability of abortion in NC. Also included in the legislation here is the following:

* They used many of the same clinic-rule-tactics used in Virginia in the past year. And then NC one-upped (or rather "7-upped") Virginia.

* A doctor (not a physician's assistant or nurse practitioner) must be physically present for the entire procedure.

*A doctor must be physically present with any patient who takes RU-486, the "abortion pill." Originally, the HoD was going to require docs to be with the women for the entire pharmaceutically induced procedure, but that can take days. That maneuver was transparent and widely mocked for its outrageousness. Even this violates women's privacy and severely limits its use.

Cautionary Tale: What Happens When the Tea Party Takes Over (Alternative...

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North Carolina WAS a pretty progressive state for an increasingly purple one. It had even enshrined North Carolinians' right to clean air and water in the state constitution. That was then. The Tea Party has shoved NC into a headlong list of "never minds" and rewrites of law sending our state back to the 19th Century. Sound familiar? The NC House of Delegates became a laughing stock, when in 2012, it forbade state scientists study of the rise of sea levels.  (You wouldn't want to provide evidence that global warming is real, would you. Snark, for the literalists out there.) Also in 2012 it went headlong into an effort to open the state to horizontal fracking and pretend to protect the public against its ravages.

Then, yesterday, the NC House Commerce Committee passed a bill to repeal NC's alternate fuels standards. The downward trajectory of NC continues in full bloom. If you have been asking how low can NC go, you haven't seen the end of the absurdity the GA, or Art Pope's puppet governor are concocting. Here is the background:

NPR’s Steve Inskeep Trusts Beltway Conventional Wisdom, Ignores Actual Polls

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OBAMA CAMPAIGN - OBAMA AND VIRGINIA GOVERNODavid Axelrod, President Obama's political strategist, was interviewed by NPR's Steve Inskeep this morning:
INSKEEP: What do you think has happened im the states that the president, somewhat unexpectedly in some cases, won in 2008 where he seems to be in deep trouble now, Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, all states that he won in 2008 and it would be hard to find an analyst who is certain that the president is going to win all 3 of those states again?

AXELROD: Well, look, I think certainty is a hard thing to come by in American politics ...

INSKEEP: I think it'd be hard to find an analyst who thinks you have a good shot.

Let's just look at the numbers here. In 2008, President Obama beat John McCain by 7.2%. Obama is currently leading Mitt Romney in national polls by 4.4%. In Virginia, the latest poll from Mason Dixon on January 18 shows Obama leading Romney 45% to 44%. In North Carolina, a January 8 poll from Democratic-aligned PPP had Obama leading Romney 46% to 45%, while a January 11 poll from GOP-aligned Civitas had Romney leading Obama 48% to 39%. There has been no presidential polling that I can find in Indiana.

Do the "analysts" Steve Inskeep talks to work for the Republican Party? Who else would be telling Inskeep, "Obama's leading in Virginia? He has no shot!" And the trends are moving briskly in Obama's favor. Job growth just hit a two-year high. Mitt Romney's favorability numbers have been tanking incredibly hard for a month now, while President Obama's approval rating has been improving for five straight months.

Our Neighbors to the South REALLY Hate the GOP Presidential Field

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stinkface.jpgNew poll numbers out of North Carolina illustrate an interesting phenomenon heading into the 2012 elections: While voters may not be thrilled with the job President Obama is doing, they really hate the slate of Republican presidential candidates:
The survey shows the President's job approval remains well underwater in the state, at 43 percent approval with 53 against, with 62 percent of independent voters disapproving along with 20 percent of Democrats. There's also a huge gender gap: only 37 percent of men approve of his performance versus 61, with women breaking 48 - 46. But those numbers reflect the level of discontent nationally and are therefore somewhat unsurprising.

What is surprising is the low standing of GOP candidates in the eyes of the North Carolina electorate. That's not to say that the race isn't close. In fact, Obama is locked in a tie with Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 45 percent a piece, leads former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney 45 percent to 44, and only bests Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) 47 - 45. But each of those Republicans have high unfavorability ratings among NC voters: Perry is already seen unfavorably by 43 percent after only a few weeks on the trail (against 34 percent approval), Romney is well underwater at 28 - 52, and Bachmann is at 29 - 52. So if this is a low point for the President in terms of popularity, there's room for Obama to outpace his opponents.

As much as President Obama's willingness to give away the farm compromise with Republicans drives progressives crazy, it's helped keep his personal favorability high - whether voters agree with his policies or not, they think President Obama's a nice, reasonable person. Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann's a nut, Mitt Romney's a phony, and Rick Perry is a meaner version of George W. Bush. Good luck with that, GOP.

Koch Buying Higher Ed Faculty and Hiring/Firing, Evaluation and Promotion Rights

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Don't look now, but higher education is not only on the decline, but also even more of a commodity to be bought and sold by the business elite than previously thought. Those of us who love our alma maters and those who understand the necessity of great academic institutions, take heed. The clock is running out on higher education. And it is not just because higher education-for-profit has siphoned off half of the federal funding for higher education tuition grants, though that is bad enough. Now at Florida State University, Charles Koch did one better. He bought decision-making ability in the economics department at FSU.  The St Petersburg Times reports:


A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University's economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting "political economy and free enterprise."

Yes THAT Charles Koch. You know the Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity, and wrong-wing "think tank" propagandist, winger funder and freeper, who disdains all things democratic with both a little and small d. It is his movement which dictates the policies and actions of the infamous governors now assaulting the states of WI, MI, OH, FL, and many others.  They're so extreme that voters have forgotten how extreme our own governor is.  (Hint: He applauded Gov. Scott Walker in WI).  But there is more...

Next Thing You Know, EVERYONE’S Gonna Want Clean Air

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From the Associated Press:
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, on Monday reversed a ruling requiring the Tennessee Valley Authority to upgrade emission controls at three coal-fired power plants in Tennessee and one in Alabama. The ruling reverses a decision by Judge Lacy H. Thornburg of Federal District Court, who said emissions affecting air quality in North Carolina's western mountains were a "public nuisance." Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the appeals court wrote that allowing the ruling to stand would undermine the nation's regulatory scheme.
Come on, you can't give Tennessee, Alabama & North Carolina cleaner air while letting coal pollution cause respiratory problems, foul our air & water and kill our forests in the rest of the country! Give our lungs an inch, they'll take a mile!

Cross-posted from The Green Miles; photo via Flickr's Roger Smith