Duke Briscoe

MEMBER FOR 4 years 6 weeks

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Federal livestock disaster benefits open for eligible farmers

@mpd0.59: Libertarians, socialists, democrats and republicans all have to eat. There might be some rationale for having a government program of this sort. For instance, sometimes participation in these agricultural government programs requires taking some kinds of precautions to prevent damage to public resources.

But yes, certainly there are some libertarian-type people who oppose this kind of program. And sometimes they are right. Sugar and corn subsidies do not seem to be in the public interest. And I have been irritated for many years about "disaster" programs that buy boats from fishermen who have complained about fishing regulations and then go ahead and destroy the fishery in a "tragedy of the commons".

posted @ Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 20:15

With UGA out, 2 nonprofits share $3.3 million ACA navigators grant

@grove600: Not everyone who was eligible for subsidies purchased insurance last year - the penalties were not that big, but the penalties are increasing next year. Also, depending on circumstances, people who are making less money this year might become eligible for subsidies for the first time. Or if you are a young person needing to buy your own insurance for the first time. Also, people who purchased insurance this year might want to pick a different plan for next year.

People might also want to shop on the marketplace exchange even if they are not going to receive a subsidy - it is a convenient place to compare plans from several different insurance companies.

So there are a lot of reasons to spend an amount of money on customer service that is small relative to the number of customers. The amount is about $10 per enrollee.

posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 03:34

Health officials concerned rare virus infecting Georgia children

I hope people will follow this advice :

CHOA advised that if your child is sick, keep him or her at home to help prevent spreading the virus.

posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 03:23

HIV/AIDS still increasing in Georgia

Sounds like another situation that would benefit from accepting the federal money to expand Medicaid.

posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 03:13

Congress' task: Act fast on spending, return home

Don't Congressmen spend most of their time raising campaign money these days? The big donors get the attention. The lobbyists write the legislation.

posted @ Sunday, September 7, 2014 - 16:00

US job growth drops to 142K, slowest in 8 months

Republicans at the state and national levels have blocked spending on infrastructure projects. In Georgia and many other Republican-controlled states, the failure to accept federal money to expand Medicaid has reduced employment in medical and related fields, along with reducing the health of the overall public.

Like the article says, August may turn out to be a blip. But I expect further economic trouble if Republicans have success in taking over the Senate this fall, since they will even further hamstring any kind of economic policy that would benefit the whole country.

posted @ Sunday, September 7, 2014 - 15:45

Paul: Night sky is vital resource

I wonder if our light pollution which spreads out so widely is having more impacts than we are aware of, disturbing the lives of the natural animals and plants. There is some human evidence that nighttime lighting disturbs hormonal cycles, leading to cancer and sleep problems. In street lit areas, birds are waking up in the middle of the night. Fireflies ability to find their mates is being impacted I think too. It is just such a pervasive change across the US and other developed countries. And it is a total waste - we do not really intend to light up the whole sky rather than just the things at ground level, and we are sleeping through most of the night while leaving all the outside lights on.

posted @ Monday, August 25, 2014 - 16:32

Refugee group hopeful despite opposition in Athens

@TeeWee: Your stories about other legal immigrants and refugees are all great. Maybe some of these other legal refugees you mention were aided by the IRC. IRC works with legal refugees - they are not an immigration advocacy group involving all that. They operate refugee camps around the world, in about 42 countries. Some of these refugees get legal admission into the US and the IRC helps them integrate into life in the US. These IRC refugees are not "cutting in front of others" and there is not a legality issue with these particular 150 people. These 150 people have nothing to do with the Mexican border.

Maybe the Banner Herald can clear up this point about the legality and origin of the refugees in future reporting.

posted @ Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 17:25

Refugee group hopeful despite opposition in Athens

@TeeWee: You seem to have misunderstood my comment and/or the news article. The news article and my comment are about the refugees being helped by the IRC charity who have been legally admitted into the US, not on an ordinary work visa or other visa, but through a special US humanitarian law that admits a small number of refugees from particular trouble spots around the world. I agree with you that illegal border crossing is a problem that needs to be fixed, but this article and my comment have nothing to do with that. You can argue about the number of refugees admitted by the humanitarian law, but that is not really part of this article either.

posted @ Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 15:43

Lecture on investment income to be held Thursday at Athens library

I hope this financial advisor is not selling products that he would be getting a commission on, particularly in the public library. Anybody going to this presentation should keep in mind that they can probably find other financial products that will serve their purposes for lower fees and expenses. Buyer beware, particularly when a free lunch is involved.

posted @ Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 14:29

Refugee group hopeful despite opposition in Athens

Here is a good story from the AJC paper about a Syrian refugee family being resettled in Georgia a few weeks ago, aided by the International Rescue Committee charity.

posted @ Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 14:03

Refugee group hopeful despite opposition in Athens

@TeeWee: These are not "border jumpers and foreign invaders". They have been legally accepted into the US according to our laws which accept a limited number of refugees from various troubled spots around the world. See

The IRC website is . They are a great charity, very efficient in their humanitarian spending, founded more than 80 years ago, by Albert Einstein and others. See

Given that 150 people are only about one tenth of one percent of the area population, maybe some of you are getting overly worked up about the magnitude of the impact.

Maybe the Mayor's office needs more or better staff if they are having problems with reading and responding to mail. In any case, it seems some officials were paying attention and the IRC is an excellent organization to oversee this program and work with local and state officials. They have been doing these refugee programs for a long long time.

I'm surprised this article did not reference the IRC website and a bit about their history.

posted @ Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 13:52

Georgia specialty tags help fight breast cancer

I think asking your state legislator to support the Georgia expansion of Medicaid ( which would be more than 90% paid for by federal taxes that are already being collected ) would be more helpful than buying one of these tags.

posted @ Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 01:11

Charen: Nothing wrong with legislative inaction

While this column makes some points of merit, it often struck me as murky, concealing some related truths. Mona Charen always seems to be a true Murkan. Maybe her think tank is a home for Murkans.

posted @ Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 01:10

S&P: Wealth gap is slowing US economic growth

This is a report from S&P economists trying to analyze reality, so that their business customers can make plans that will match reality. Businesses would currently be in trouble for instance if they had made plans several years ago based on forecasts of high interest rates and raging inflation, as right wing ideological forecasters predicted.

The real numbers show that more money is being funneled to a smaller group of people, and that has an impact on growth of overall consumption and therefore the demand for production. Those are the real numbers, and then we citizens can have a political argument about the values implemented by our laws, such as giving tax breaks to hedge fund managers for "carried interest" baloney. Or not adequately prosecuting insider trading or other rigged markets.

posted @ Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 00:43

US auto sales sizzle in July, helped by discounts

[quote][b]snarkydude[/b] - Your other problem was that you chose an article from a publication that has a political agenda as its mission[/quote]

I actually thought about that before using that link, but it seemed that article was mainly factual so I went ahead and used it. I also thought about the distinction between car dealers and car loan lenders, but did not want to get into it - and you certainly know more about it than me so I would not have really had much to say about the distinction.

[quote][b]snarkydude[/b] - Your insinuation that somehow Republicans more more influenced by big money than are Democrats just simply isn't true.[/quote]

My observation was that based on votes on particular issues, substantially more Republicans than Democrats will vote in favor of not regulating "Wall Street" financial misbehavior. That is of course true of regulation of big corporate behavior in general, so it is a general ideological difference between the two parties. But I did point out my disapproval of the many Democrats that sell out the public interest to serve big money on many issues - including illegal immigration that drives down wages and affects unemployment of citizens. It is pitiful that the two parties could not come to some agreement about "E-verify" type programs for employers, with substantial fines for employers.

posted @ Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 15:27

US auto sales sizzle in July, helped by discounts

[quote][b]snarkydude[/b] - Before you blame one political party for creating another subprime bubble, look at who donates heavily to the Democrats. The Dems are in the pockets of the big banks, too. Doing a little checking will give you more credibility. (Full disclosure here: I've sold cars for 40 years.) Better luck next time.[/quote]

Thanks for your lengthy reply. I did not exclusively blame one political party. I explicitly said typically half of the Democrats are taking the big financial interests' campaign money (and later jobs when they are no longer in office). I think there is a problem with the influence of money in politics to push things against the broad public interest. It is simply a fact of the voting record that nearly all current Republicans are typically voting in favor of "Wall Street"-type interests and about half of the current Democrats are similarly cozying up with the big money against the public interest.

posted @ Friday, August 1, 2014 - 18:58

US auto sales sizzle in July, helped by discounts

@snarkydude: Interesting about the subprime car loans. I found this article which explains some things about that.

Car dealers spent millions on lobbying the US Congress to exempt their loans from oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and they got their loophole. Almost all Republicans and about half of the Democrats voted to create the loophole. That seems to be about the same voting record on other legal loopholes that let Wall Street financial shenanigans take place - nearly all the Republicans and half the Democrats.

posted @ Friday, August 1, 2014 - 17:37

Barrow County woman finds cat decapitated outside home

Sounds like an episode of Stalkers, a new TV show coming soon.

posted @ Friday, August 1, 2014 - 03:30

EPA says cutting coal use might save lives


Failing to adequately reduce the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change could cost the United States economy $150 billion a year, according to an analysis by the White House Council of Economic Advisers released Tuesday.

The White House has repeatedly sought to make the case that the long-term cost of not cutting carbon emissions — including longer droughts, worse floods and bigger wildfires that will damage homes, businesses and the nation’s infrastructure — will be higher than the short-term expense of carrying out the regulation.

posted @ Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 19:00

Federal carbon rule hearing in Atlanta attracts crowds of supporters, opponents


[quote][b]TeeWee[/b] - And of the 0.04 percent of carbon in the air?  It is almost statistically insignificant and has in the past history of the Earth been much higher.[/quote]

It hasn't been higher recently, during the existence of the human species (about the last million years). The main problem is that it has changed so quickly during our industrial age that natural ecosystems don't have time to adapt to the temperature changes and ocean acidification, so that will lead to species extinction. And it will disrupt human societies which cannot move peacefully as fast as the climate is changing. Those migrations will make the 80,000 child refugees a year across our borders look like a mild breeze as compared to a hurricane.


Last month was the Earth's warmest June since records began in 1880, according to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It marked the second-straight month the world set a warm-temperature record.

posted @ Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 05:15

Tant: Forty-five years ago, world marveled at moon landing

[quote][b]Fair and Balanced[/b] - 45 years later the White House Communications Agency lodges a complaint when they are denied access to speak with the heroes.

It was not the White House complaining, but some of the news correspondents.


The White House Correspondents Association filed a formal complaint with press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday regarding the 45th anniversary of the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Obama met with astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, but only a very small number of photographers were allowed to attend.

Earnest said in a press briefing Tuesday that the limited access was due to the President's "busy schedule" and an inability to "accommodate TV cameras this time."

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 - 20:56

Georgia Milestones to challenge students, teachers

I read an interesting article yesterday which is relevant to these standardized tests. Having students learn a lot of facts and rote procedures to perform well on these tests may be a poor way to educate.

posted @ Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 12:50

Police: Couple was living in overdue rental truck

@OCCountry: Anecdotes do not overrule broadly gathered legitimate data.

posted @ Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 17:23

Georgia children's wellbeing lags most states, report says

Always nice to have some hard data to think about. National leader in low birth weight babies - that sounds like it really needs some attention. Good to know that the preschool enrollment rate is relatively high - and hopefully that is doing something that will pay off for those children and their families.

posted @ Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 16:16

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