Saturday, November 30, 2013

And if the Tsar...

Very sweet and patient, but I was kind of gobsmacked by the denial that the president has "'made fun' of tea-baggers." Can he really be unaware that using that term is making fun of them ipso facto? Is he that innocent, or isolated?

Well, remember when David Axelrod had never heard of hippy-punching? And Eric Holder found out what waterboarding is in 2008? Remember when Obama came out attacking his own education policy as if it were some exoticially dreadful idea from the future, luckily too remote for us to really have to worry about it?
one thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching to the test. Because then you're not learning about the world; you're not learning about different cultures, you're not learning about science, you're not learning about math. All you're learning about is how to fill out a little bubble on an exam and the little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test. And that's not going to make education interesting to you.
They seem just about as cynical as they need to be when dealing with Iran, or Israel, and then if you turn around and look back they seem to have taken on this really touching sincerity. Honestly, it's hard for me to disbelieve it, if only because so much simple faith in people looks kind of like a handicap, something you'd frankly prefer your president not to have. What's up with that?
Teabag installation by Armén Rotch, via Inhabitat.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cheap shots and dancing dog fur

Came up while I was en route to New Jersey keeping up with the twittericity by intellectual phone and thus unable to answer the question according to my usual thoroughly documented standards—because I can do a lot of stuff with my new phone but have not yet mastered the art of cutting and pasting URLs.

Anyway I'm now pretty confident, thanks to an essay in the Superversive which touches briefly on the economics of the Shire (it is mostly an extremely detailed account of the [jump]
Looking for a representation of Smaug that would capture his Germanic wormishness, I didn't find anything, but this, by Kihea, is satisfyingly fleshy.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Chalchiuhtotolin, Aztec turkey god (image from Wikipedia via University of Leicester)
1. No Republican brothers-in-law. Three sisters with a total of two current and two ex-husbands, plus one helpmeet with a brother of her own, not to mention that the turkey is being cooked by a sister whose husband has three brothers-in-law of whom at least two will be showing up this afternoon, and not a Republican among them: no death panels, no gold standard, no "I'm not a racist but". We don't talk about Netanyahu but you'd be surprised how easy not talking about Netanyahu is. Indeed not talking about Netanyahu is in itself something to be grateful for.

2. No God. I don't think I could bring myself to be thankful if I thought I owed it to some choosy Deity who decided to pick me out for this particularly meager set of blessings leaving me between, on the one hand, the businesslike middle-aged black woman in a man's winter coat who will probably be standing outside my bank hoping for a dollar if I go visit the ATM, and on the other, say, Donald Trump. That must have been Simone Weil's problem. Unutterably disgusting, the idea that you just deserve three meals a day and a warm bed and millions of others don't because God. But if you understand, thanks to Darwin, that your blessings come to you entirely by chance then grateful acceptance is really the only decent attitude; that plus trying to use your blessings as well as you can, modestly, to decrease the suffering you see.

3. Brahms.

Actually there's a lot more. This is just a representative sample.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Love, actuarially

Victorian postcard, via Wikipedia.
Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Hobby Lobby case about how the religious freedom of the company owners requires that they be permitted to impose their religious beliefs on their employees, it may be time to note once again a wrinkle I've noted before, but with some new backup.

Namely: we sort of assume that if an insurance company "pays for contraception", that will cost them more than not doing so; we have this picture of shelling out so much per pill packet and so much per IUD and of the whole thing being on the minus side of the ledger. But actuarially speaking this is not at all the case. The costs of dealing with accidental pregnancy are so much higher than those of effective contraception that providing everybody in your risk pool with family planning costs the insurer approximately zero and saves the employer on the order of an annual $97 per employee.
When medical costs associated with unintended pregnancies are taken into account, including costs of prenatal care, pregnancy complications, and deliveries, the net effect on premiums is close to zero.[10],[11] One study author concluded, "The message is simple: regardless of payment mechanism or contraceptive method, contraception saves money."[12]

When indirect costs such as time away from work and productivity loss are considered, they further reduce the total cost to an employer.  Global Health Outcomes developed a model that incorporates costs of contraception, costs of unintended pregnancy, and indirect costs.  They find that it saves employers $97 per year per employee to offer a comprehensive contraceptive benefit.[13]  Similarly, the PwC actuaries state that after all effects are taken into account, providing contraceptive services is “cost-saving.”[14]
In this way the amount a company "pays" to cover family planning for employees is actually negative, and in order for Hobby Lobby to avoid paying for its workers' contraception it would, in fact, have to pay a significantly higher premium. It is going to be arguing before the Supreme Court that it is an unbearable burden for the Affordable Care Act to require them to pay less.

I mean, I don't suppose it makes a difference to the legal issues in question, but it does to my mind make them awfully abstract. (Note: it might make a difference to the determination of whether the law imposes a "substantial burden" on Hobby Lobby. By the way, be sure to see Scott Lemieux's analysis of the issues themselves.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Fix-the-Debt is In

Drawing, for Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand (1938), by Robert Lawson. Via Geocache.
The "Campaign to Fix the Debt", a self-publicizing organ created as a kind of benefit performance by and for the old vaudeville team of Bowles 'n' Simpson, has been sending me the occasional email ever since I attempted to troll them by honestly answering a fake "survey" on my feelings about the prospects of fixing the debt. There was one of those scrolling-response windows where you can watch your own little post appear at the bottom and then rise, magically, in the surging tide, and finally rapture out of the box; and glory hound that I am, I wanted to see mine there. I didn't: Fix-the-Debt had some kind of censor working that department, and negative things never showed, but back in the email department they still saw me as a customer and kept me on the list. So, in today's mail:

As fans prepare for the upcoming rivalry games, let’s all root for a victory over one of our biggest rivals, the national debt.
Take a look at the graphic and then share it with your fellow fans!

The opposite of Obamacare

Looks like this Thanksgiving the obnoxious Uncle Louie ranting about how the country has been going downhill ever since the Jews and the coloreds got rid of the gold standard is threatened by a new phenomenon, your smartass nephews on the bandwagon as Novice Navigators and trying to sign the whole family up for Obamacare, and it's got the Heritage Foundation all worked up:
Oboy oboy thanks, Heritage! I was getting really curious about that conservative alternative to #Obamacare. Let's see...

Monday, November 25, 2013

General Dismay

Macaulay registration for the spring semester was November 12, but somehow this class hasn't gotten closed yet!

Visiting Professor David Petraeus’s Spring 2014 Course

There are still slots available for this unique opportunity. Dr. David Petraeus, Visiting Professor at Macaulay Honors College, will be teaching a Spring 2014 seminar. "Are We on the Threshold of the (North) American Decade?" will examine the developments that could position the United States—and its North American partners—to lead the world out of the current global economic slowdown. This course will focus on diverse subjects: energy, life sciences, manufacturing and information technology.
Dr. Petraeus received his Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He later served as Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy and also completed a fellowship at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Dr. Petraeus is looking for students from any area of interest with an appetite for reading and synthesizing large quantities of technical information. Students will work together to determine the policies and practices that will best enable the United States to capitalize upon the present opportunities. Excellent writing and presentation skills are a must, as is the ability to work well as part of a team.
Bold in original. Definitely not as snooty as Brooksie at Yale. And you'll be helping (North) America capitalize on those opportunities!

My inside source tells me everybody she knows who took Dr. Petraeus's fall class thought it was really interesting. Well, she does in fact know one.
And in the spring the class will be meeting in an undisclosed location! Via Business Insider.

Broken chairs and bad analogies

Munich II


No, that’s not a facile, partisan jab. What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century.

Um, actually I'd say that (from National Review Online, link on the headline) is a facile partisan jab, if by "jab" you mean the gesture of a drunk attempting with only partial accuracy to poke his finger, rhetorically, in your chest. There ought to be a corollary to Godwin's Law to the effect that when they bring up Munich the conversation is not merely dead but starting to smell.

In this case the only way the Munich analogy is even discussable is to begin by understanding that the conference was called to decide not what to do about Hitler but what to do about Czechoslovakia, accused of mistreating its ethnic-German [jump]

Sunday, November 24, 2013

White House Fool Report

On Thursday, the White House Correspondents’ Association and 37 news organizations submitted a letter to the press secretary, Jay Carney, protesting what photographers said amounted to the establishment of the White House’s own Soviet-style news service, which gets privileged access to Mr. Obama at the expense of journalists who cover the president.
Via Josh Feldman at Mediaite.
So Friday the above, showing the Oval Office completely filled with press photographers, was the official photo of the day, like they're trying to be sarcastic or something. But they just prove the point of how Soviet they really are: everybody knows the press is free to shoot the president doing all that presidenty stuff. Booo-ring! But it's the White House employee Pete Souza that gets the truly newsworthy pix, like how Obama and Sasha went swimming in Florida once.

Pete Souza/Reuters, August 15 2010, via The Guardian.
And you know why, right? Totally Soviet-style! They have to have control over the image just in case Sasha gets purged and sent off to the labor camp, so they can Photoshop her out and pretend she never existed.
Pete Souza/White House, via The Atlantic. Originally a photograph of Obama with his then-close collaborator John Boehner; after the paranoid president decided Boehner had "betrayed" him one time too many, the Speaker's face was clumsily replaced with that of speechwriter Cody Keenan. Boehner's fate remains unknown—he's become an "un-person".

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Moral derpitude

Image via Picy.
Dana Milbank judges the nuclear option severely, though confusedly:
Democrats were fully justified in stripping Republicans of their right to filibuster President Obama’s nominees — yet they will come to deeply regret what they have done.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cheap shots and extreme shrieking

Secrets of Glenn's success:

Greenwald: "Extreme hackery", "endless shrieking" made me what I am today.
Hey, you're welcome. Any time you need me shrieking and hacking so you can advance your career another step, pal. 'Coz everybody really loves being treated as an asshole by the person they essentially created.
The Shrieking Affliction. From Magic: The Gathering, via.
Lamar!  and Leviticus! and more below the fold:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Emperors of the hundred valleys

Updated 11/24/2013
A wonderful piece on NPR 10 days ago by the company social scientist, Shankar Vedantam, on the "public leadership" professor Ronald Heifetz and his concept of adaptive leadership as more psychiatry than surgery:
"The dominant view of leadership is that the leader has the vision and the rest is a sales problem," he says. "I think that notion of leadership is bankrupt." That approach only works for technical problems, he says, where there's a right answer and an expert knows what it is.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Retro beer ad, from Barcelona.
Really mystified for hours by this:
I looked at the Wapo article (noting date) and found that it was about the third Manning document dump, the one with all the US state department cables, and US funding of anti-Assad Syrian exile forces, and I'm thinking what does that have to do with the civil war? The article was published in April 2011, just a month after the beginning of large-

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dirty DC Secret

Heracles taming Cerberus. Athenian red-figure amphora, c. 520-510 BC. Paris. Musée du Louvre F204 © Musée du Louvre. Via.
Dear terrorized-left friends who are fond of telling us how Obama "wants to cut Social Security", here is your reading assignment: an article by Jackie Calmes in today's Times explaining that nobody wants to cut Social Security:
“It’s a lot harder than you’d think to find Republicans who’d actually want to cut entitlements, or Democrats who want to raise taxes,” said Jared Bernstein, a former economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and now a senior fellow at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The only person who seems to have consistently been interested in a grand bargain is the president, and frankly I’m not even sure about him.”
Bernstein's just being polite; Obama doesn't want to do it either. He just wants to appear to be properly deferential to Mr. Petersen and his legions of crazed budget balancers, and the Village Party, which commands few votes but a lot of TV, and its ancillary good-for-John-McCain gossips.

It suddenly occurs to me that perhaps FDR's budget-balancery was all an act too; just something to toss at J. Pierpont Morgan and John D. Rockefeller the way you toss Cerberus a honey-soaked bun when you want to burglarize the Underworld.

It's amazing to me that people who are willing to suspect the president of lying about virtually everything he does insist they can tell from his vague statements of sympathy with Bowles and Simpson that he must be a passionate advocate of their stupid proposals. Have they really not noticed how every time he signs off on a plan to cut, say, Medicare, it turns out in the fine print that nobody's benefits were touched and the program ends up healthier than before?

Just don't tell the Republicans.

Is Carl Hulse DeMinted?

Protest as schmatte marketing. Found art by HurricaneVanessa.
Carl Hulse at the New York Times seems intent on demonstrating that if it was a Republican president they'd just pull the Affordable Care Act, apologies all round, what-what:
Angry Americans voice outrage at being asked to pay more for health coverage. Lawmakers and the White House say the public just doesn’t appreciate the benefits of the new health law. Opponents clamor for repeal before the program fully kicks in.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Uncertain Justice

Eric Holder on possible prosecution of Snowden companion Glenn Greenwald via Washington Post):
“Unless information that has not come to my attention is presented to me, what I have indicated in my testimony before Congress is that any journalist who’s engaged in true journalistic activities is not going to be prosecuted by this Justice Department,” Holder said.

“I certainly don’t agree with what Greenwald has done,” Holder said. “In some ways, he blurs the line between advocate and journalist. But on the basis of what I know now, I’m not sure there is a basis for prosecution of Greenwald.”
Holder on Republican House plans to impeach him for crimes as yet to be determined (via Rumproast):
To the extent that there are concerns about policy differences that I might have with certain members of Congress, I’m not certain that rises to the level of impeachment.
You see what's going on here, right? His attitudes toward Greenwald and himself are virtually identical! The attorney general obviously plans to have himself rendered to a black site and tortured till he confesses to himself that he... umm...

The Wanchoress

I used to really like Raddatz back when she was NPR's military expert, too.

But enough about me, let's talk about NSA. Are they watching me?

Another MacRitchie monkey. From the Singapore photoblog JustCapture.
Little did I imagine, when I suggested on Friday that They Might Not Be Watching Us, how soon and explosively it was going to turn out that a bunch of American writers disagree with me, as laid out in a new report from the distinguished and beloved PEN America under the title

which finds that

Saturday, November 16, 2013

None Durst Call it Treason

Apparently New York's crypto-Communist mayor-elect Bill de Blasio divulged his secret intentions of collectivizing the real estate market, some time before the election, according to the New York Post:
“Everything you heard about me is true. . . I am not a free-marketeer. . . I believe in the heavy hand of government,” de Blasio stated matter-of-factly during an hour-long presentation to some of the city’s biggest real-estate developers.
Author of the story is Fox Business reporter Charlie Gasparino, who also put it on the air yesterday. No source of any kind is cited other than Charlie's personal contacts who witnessed the remarkable performance.

Of course it stands to reason that if de Blasio wanted to reveal the terrifying truth to some group of people who could be trusted to understand and keep it quiet until after the election he would choose
 Jared Kushner of Kushner Properties, Stephen Green of SL Green Realty, Douglas Durst of the Durst Organization and Jeff Blau, chief executive of the Related Companies. Scott Rechler of RXR Realty... hosted the event at his offices.
Because those guys are naturally so sympathetic to Leninist attacks on private property rights. On Gasparino's general reliability, I'll let the trade speak:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Triumph of the Won't

From my RWNJ pal Doug Brink, who sees a Leni Riefenstahl at work in the photos of the president with the troops:

This image still bothers me...

The White House poster recently noting Veterans Day weekend... It bugs me...

From the White House Facebook page

Maybe what disturbs me is how it compares with other historical images. [jump]

How Republicans think

The whole plan is a scheme to keep God from punishing bad girls for the offense of their existence. Or mitigating the punishment (since genital herpes can't actually be cured, so far).

Note how according to her it's going to pay for her health care, but according to the fine print at the bottom it won't. They don't really care whether it makes sense or not as long as they can work out their neurotic obsessions.

Maybe they're not watching us. Just throwing that out there.

Monkey at MacRitchie Reservoir. Photo by anoukinsingapore.
Here's another one, to set alongside the Royal Star Chamber and the Stasi:
Apparently an ongoing thing, happening, as I started writing this post, about 20 blocks away, at the Fordham Law campus, where Dorfman was speaking on a panel together with James Bamford, Bruce Schneier, and Glenn Greenwald (presumably on video, he doesn't believe it's safe for him to come to the US, right?) on the topic
They're Watching Us: So What?

Cheap shots and doublethinks

Socialists claim Welles, too, Have they no mercy?
Stop Presses!

The latest Obamacare martyr is a celebrity case: none other than Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) who has lost her coverage as well as that of her frail husband and all 27 children or however many it is because of the so-called Affordable Care Act:
Bachmann and Democratic strategist Paul Begala battled over the Affordable Care Act on CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Thursday. But Bachmann made quite the admission when asked by host Wolf Blitzer if she was going to sign up for the health insurance exchanges.
“Are you kidding? I’m not gonna waste an hour on that thing!” the Minnesota Republican said. But Bachmann then added, “I lost my health insurance under Obamacare.”

Thursday, November 14, 2013

If you keep it can you like it?

Edward Lloyd's coffee house. Image via Rombouts.
Breaking from Wall Street Journal:
The White House on Thursday will announce a plan for allowing insurance companies to continue offering existing individual insurance policies even if they fall short of the coverage standards set by the 2010 health-care law, a Democratic official briefed on the plan said....
The plan, which the official said could be implemented without passing legislation, would allow insurance companies to extend "substandard'' plans in 2014 only if they are already in existence. Unlike the House bill, the administration plan wouldn't allow insurance companies to offer such plans to new customers.
The theory is first that this will stop the congressional Democrats from signing onto anything rash; it can be done without any legislation, and that sounds like a good thing. Of course I don't see how this will "work" in the sense of actually getting those misbegotten complainers their imaginary coverage back. The insurers don't want to offer the plans that they've canceled, at least unless they get a chance to make them worse, by adding new restrictions or increasing the deductible. But maybe they'll be permitted to do that. Or maybe they'll be sort of forced to offer plans that were grandfathered under the original legislation.

Meanwhile I have a proposal: the Multistate Plan Program should be enabled to create a plan for anybody whose policy has been canceled that would match the premiums.

The way it would work would be like this: You'd start out by calculating the effective premium on the basis of the customer's income and its position on the poverty scale. If then are at 400% of poverty their effective premium is the same as the premium they've been paying, if they earn less then their effective premium is whatever the actual premium would buy after the government subsidies under the Obamacare program proper. Then the coverage package would be the Ten Essential Benefits plus whatever disposition of coinsurance/deductible/out-of-pocket maximum makes sense—some wealthier customers might well end up paying 80% or 90% coinsurance, because those premiums they've been paying are just too low, but it would still be a better deal than what they got from the canceled plans. Those "if I like it I can keep it" folks would have to accept, because the freedom they're insisting on is the freedom to pay an excessively low premium and eat the associated risks.

Best of all, it would get the Multistate into business in a bigger way, hastening the day when it becomes our National Health. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lines for music

Image via History Hoydens.
Obamacare Song
Oh I love my health insurance:
   it allows me to ensure
that I get my tax deduction
   without sharing with the poor.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ya big bully!

Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images

The president was a little rough on sensitive Governor Jindal:
"Even if you don't support the overall plan, let's at least go ahead and make sure that the folks who don't have health insurance right now and can get it through an expanded Medicaid, let's make sure we do that," Obama said.

That opened the door for Jindal to accuse Obama of trying to "bully" the state. "We will not allow President Obama to bully Louisiana into accepting an expansion of Obamacare," Jindal said in a statement, saying the expansion would cost the state too much. (Fox News)

Later, Secretary Kerry was caught knocking over an entire Middle Eastern country for its lunch:
Consistent with the Obama Administration’s first term bullying of Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry has been issuing veiled threats in the past few days, including this invitation to Palestinian violence. This is not moral equivalence, this is adopting the Arafat-style of “negotiation,” namely, do as I say or I will launch terror again. (National Review)
Perhaps  the Obama administration is just applying the standards set forth in Michigan's new anti-bullying law, designed by Republicans to make sure it's OK for schoolchildren to bully classmates for being gay if they believe it's bad to be gay, because then it's not bullying, just
a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parents or guardian.
Like, the president might have a sincerely held moral conviction that it would be a good thing for the federal government to get health insurance to more than 200,000 Louisiana citizens who are too poor to get it for themselves. Also if you think Kerry was threatening to start a third Intifada, you have a somewhat inflated opinion of his powers.

Breaking badder

Stop the presses! Fox News has just learned that the Washington Examiner published five weeks ago a report according to which American Enterprise Institute hack Stan Veuger published on June 20th a hypothesis that the IRS swung the 2012 elections Barack Obama's way in what remains the all-time Greatest Obama Scandal of Forever by their relentless two-year persecution of 501(C)(4) organizations with the words "Tea" and "Party" in their names:
Tea party, from the flickr of Alberto.Gar.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Obamacare Lies

Austrian Seven-League Boots (7Meilenstiefel) , via Vanessa Fire.
Here we go again with the people who think when Obamacare outlawed the $5,000 deductible they somehow ruled a $12,700 deductible in:
MIAMI - Dean Griffin liked the health insurance he purchased for himself and his wife three years ago and thought he'd be able to keep the plan even after the federal Affordable Care Act took effect.
But the 64-year-old recently received a letter notifying him the plan was being cancelled because it didn't cover certain benefits required under the law.
The Griffins, who live near Philadelphia, pay $770 monthly for their soon-to-be-terminated health care plan with a $2,500 deductible. The cheapest plan they found on their state insurance exchange was a so-called bronze plan charging a $1,275 monthly premium with deductibles totalling $12,700. It covers only providers in Pennsylvania, so the couple, who live near Delaware, won't be able to see doctors they've used for more than a decade.
"We're buying insurance that we will never use and can't possibly ever benefit from. We're basically passing on a benefit to other people who are not otherwise able to buy basic insurance," said Griffin, who is retired from running an information technology company.
1. The average Bronze plan in Chester County, PA (they live in Chadds Ford) for a couple their ages (he's 64 and online evidence indicates Mary Lou is 63) with an income runs a monthly premium of $1,107, if their income is more than $62,000. The cheapest Bronze is certainly less than $1,275 (I have no idea where they got that number, but it doesn't belong here). If they're down there at just over 400% of poverty, that's a pretty big bite out of your income, but if they could lower their income (e.g. by putting money into Mary Lou's IRA or 401K) just to $62,000, they'd lower that premium to $491 right away. If they're too rich to do that, then they're rich enough to stop complaining, especially since it's just a year until Dean goes on Medicare and Mary Lou on a single-individual plan, two years until she goes on Medicare herself.

2. Once again, that $12,700 is NOT A DEDUCTIBLE. It's an out-of-pocket maximum. That is, the couple will pay nothing for preventive care stuff, standard copays for normal stuff, and 50% of everything else (other states' Bronze plans cover 60%, but these Pennsylvania ones seem to take care of only 50%) until they have paid $12,700 and the insurer has paid the same; after which the insurer will pay 100%. On their old plan they'd have had to shell out $2,500 apiece before getting a penny, whereas now they'll be getting that $5,000 worth of initial care for something like half the price.

Putting it another way, under their old plan, they'd have been paying the $770 a month PLUS the $2,500-per-person deductible for an effective total of $1,187 a month before the insurer ever gave them anything in return, whereas now, with an almost certainly slightly smaller outlay, they'll be getting something back every time they go to the doctor.

3. They have access to their Delaware providers, but they have to pay make a higher copay; or they can keep equal access to them by signing up for a Blue Cross Multistate plan (or, as we call it here, the Infant Public Option). Suck it up, you whiners!
Image via Fly With Me Productions.

Talk about lies traveling halfway round the world before truth can slip into its Uggs—this stupid story written by Kelli Kennedy of the Associated Press has been picked up by the Washington Post, along with God knows how many AP local papers, and dozens of blogs and propaganda outlets, who reprinted it without even the most minimal journalistic due diligence. THIS MUST STOP!


A wonderful new tool for calculating premiums is available at (h/t the wonderful Gotta Laff). It turns out there that the cheapest PPO Bronze plan is in fact $1240 a month, which is not so far off the Griffins' number, though still a far better deal than the high-deductible plan they're losing (looks like the PPO Bronze Reserve, which would now cost $1,107, but it seems to have been withdrawn). The only Multistate option listed is a Gold, for $1,878. These guys may have to decide whether they prefer cheap or Delaware. How often do they go to the doctor, anyway? If that $770 plan was working for them, they must have been paying full price for a very small number of visits, and they could keep doing that for the next year except paying half price for the preventive care.

Premature Schadenfreude

Hugh Hewitt, hack since the beginning of time.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Texas Punish Women for Existing Law

When the Texas abortion bill was still under consideration by the courts, it was all about safety for women. In fact that's what they called it, the "abortion safety law". Townhall, November 1:
A panel of judges at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision Thursday that reinstates most of Texas’ new abortion safety law.
Now it's taking effect, they're telling the truth, and the glee is unrestrained:

Meanwhile in Texas: Abortion Appointments Canceled, Clinics Closing All Across State

Headline and (uncredited, i.e., stolen) image from Townhall.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cheap shots and word rustlers

No squat teams in Paramus. In Hoboken, on the other hand...
Swat's that you say?

The terrifying public suicide of Richard Shoop at the Garden State Plaza on Monday wasn't funny, but I liked this glimpse of Kathryn Jean's inner life:
Maybe Special Quiet Understanding And Tactics?

The War on Bros and much, much more below the fold...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Boehner's list of Obamacare tragedies

John Boehner's long J'Accuse list of the President's Obamacare crimes cites a total of eleven bullet points: a bunch of harrumphing about IF YOU LIKE IT YOU CAN KEEP IT!!! and three specific cases : a woman who's pissed off at how little the exchange does for her when the rules are specifically designed to keep her from using the exchange, which she does not need; a woman who's pissed off at having to be covered for maternity benefits when she's already got four kids, who has not even bothered to find out how much she'll be paying; and a large metropolitan area that isn't pissed off at all, though for some reason Boehner is.
  • WATCH: “A woman in North Carolina has seen her insurance plan canceled and her premium’s increasing by over 50% due to Obamacare’s regulations, WRAL-NC reports.” (Free Beacon)

The woman in North Carolina is Ruth Ann Grimes, music director at a United Methodist Church in a Raleigh suburb, who wrote to the News Observer August 29:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Leave 'em laughing

The Blogger program in which these ruminations are compiled sometimes decides for no discernible reason that cut-and-paste passages from the New York Times (and only the Times, I'm not kidding, it does not do this with any other source) should be set in 1.5-em type. Normally I just change them, but this bit from Scott Shane's latest article on the NSA data collection seemed to convey so perfectly a fact about the NSA that nobody seems capable of understanding that I just thought I'd leave it big:
The point was not so much to catch the Iranian leader’s words, but to gather the data for blanket eavesdropping on Iran in the event of a crisis.

When thou criest let thy companies

You know how President Obama has been trying to get the CIA under presidential control for the first time in the agency's history and get it to act as an intelligence service instead of an Organisation de l'Armée Secrète? You don't? Well, it's not my fault.*

Anyway the keystone of the job, after installing the president's own personal creature to head the CIA (first Petraeus, whose specialty is to kiss up and smack down, and to implement an idea fanatically as if to prove that it was his own; and then after that flameout the [jump]

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Election Day

Dear New Jersey,

Saw you this morning on your way to work, across the river, as I was getting into the bus myself, but too rushed to say "Hi." Don't forget to vote! I know it's unlikely, but as Slate's David Weigel told Barbara Buono this morning,
DW: I do remember when McGreevey almost beat Whitman, so that's always in my mind; the last poll was 20 points.
BB: Was it really?
DW: Polling wasn't as frequent or good back then. But the last poll was a Reuters poll, that had it at around 20, and it ended up being —

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Obamacare martyr

Art by Jimmy Ernst, from WikiPaintings.

See, See Rider, 1946.
Today's Obamacare victim is Betsy Tadder, 52, of Rockton, Illinois, an over-the-border suburb of Janesville, Wisconsin who told Fox News that her current health insurance plan is being canceled as of December 13:

Right now, she pays $454 a month for health insurance, and the cheapest plan being offered as a replacement costs $871, she said. Tadder explained that the new plan includes benefits she doesn't need, like pediatric dentistry and maternity coverage.
Essentially, the government is telling her that her current plan is not good enough. [jump]