His Life is Over!

This story about a Nazi who lives in a bedroom suburb of Rochester, Honeoye Falls, is tragicomedy:

“No Nazis in our neighborhood,” read the words emblazoned in large, bold type across the tops of the fliers, which also show a picture of a group of demonstrators carrying tiki torches on the campus of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville the night of Aug. 11. One man carrying a torch near the bottom right corner of the image is circled.
The fliers identify the circled man as Jerrod Kuhn and claim that he is a “leading figure with the Daily Stormer, an avowedly neo-Nazi website around which local groups have been organizing to promote anti-Semitism, white supremacy and violence against LGBTQ communities.”
Speaking early Wednesday afternoon outside his Honeoye Falls residence, Kuhn staunchly denied being a neo-Nazi, calling the assertion “a crazy accusation.”
“I’m not a neo-Nazi. I don’t belong to a German workers’ party from 1933,” he said. “… I’m a moderate Republican.”

I guess that settles it. The swastika was just a decoration. The whining continues:

Kuhn said the fliers have ruined his life and that, after they were posted around the village, he and members of his family have received death threats. Law enforcement has been made aware of the threats, said Kuhn, but he thinks he’ll probably have to move out of the area.
“I can’t live in this community anymore. I’m in the process of figuring out what I’m going to do,” he said. “I’m 21 years old and now my life is over in this area.”

I don’t condone death threats, but I do want to point out that his life is not over in the same way that Heather Heyer’s is.

Boston ‘Free Speech’ Rally: Well, That Was Anticlimactic, Fortunately

From local news channel WCVB [warning: autoplay]:

One of the planned speakers for the “Free Speech Rally” has said the event “fell apart” and the crowd cheered as police were seen removing flags and other items from the bandstand at Boston Common.

The rally was met with overwhelming opposition as thousands of people gathered on the Common and another 10,000 or more marched to the area from Roxbury…

Several verbal confrontations were observed between counterprotesters and rally attendees as they tried to reach the bandstand. Some of the counterprotesters, who said it was their duty to support free speech, were seen helping the rally attendees through the dense crowd.

Eventually, however, the “Free Speech Rally” organizers seemed to give up.

“I didn’t realize how unplanned of an event it was going to be,” said Samson Racioppi, a candidate for congress who was on the list of speakers publicized by the rally organizers. “I really think it was supposed to be a good event by the organizers but it kinda fell apart.”…

A few dozen people had gathered on the bandstand for the controversial rally, but reporters observed them departing around 12:45 p.m. A few minutes later, police were seen taking down the flags and other items that the rally organizers had hung on the bandstand.

Police escorted the rally attendees out of the area, but some physical conflicts were observed and a phalanx of officers in riot gear emerged near Emerson College as a show of force to quell the crowd.

At the same time, the “Fight Supremacy” march began to reach the area with 10,000 or more participants who were led into downtown from Roxbury by organizers including Black Lives Matter and the Mass Community Action Network…

Video clips at the link.

Kudos to all the local organizers who did non-violence workshops this week. With any luck, Charlottesville will have been a turning point — just not the kind the murderous white supremacists intended.
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Open Thread: “Donald Trump’s Despicable Words”


It’s become a truism that professional comedians are doing some of the best Trump denunciations, but this Washington Post column from Alexandra Petri deserves wider attention:

Of course they gathered with torches, because the only liberty they have lost is the liberty to gather with torches and decide whose house to visit with terror. That is the right that is denied them: the right to other people’s possessions, the right to be the only person in the room, the right to be the only person that the world is made for. (These are not rights. They are wrongs.) You are sad because your toys have been taken, but they were never toys to begin with. They were people. It is the ending of the fairy tale; because you were a beast, you did not see that the things around you were people and not objects that existed purely for your pleasure. You should not weep that the curse is broken and you can see that your footstool was a human being.

But to rejoice in that discovery you have to stop being a beast first, and they have not. Why would they? Trump promises to turn the world back and bring the curse again. That is implicit in his every speech, a dog whistle strong enough that every dog in America is deaf and in constant pain.

Here we are in the year of our lord 2017 and the president of the United States lacks the moral courage to condemn Nazis and white supremacists. And they are not even making it difficult. They are saluting like Nazis and waving Nazi flags and chanting like Nazis and spewing hatred like Nazis. Maya Angelou was not wrong. When someone tells you who they are, believe them. Especially if what that person is telling you is “I am a Nazi.”…

“So important,” Trump said. “We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.”

Maybe. But there is nothing more pathological than the desire to be liked by everyone all the time. If you are continually attracting Nazis and white supremacists, you shouldn’t say, “WOW, everyone LIKES ME! Great!” you should ask yourself, “Where in my life have I gone seriously wrong?”…

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Will the Eclipse Confuse the Beasts?

You think it drives just animals nuts? It’s causing thousands of otherwise sane humans to visit Hopkinsville, KY — WaPo commentor

Per the Washington Post, “During the solar eclipse, animals will be extremely confused“:

Margarita Woc Colburn’s childhood memories of a July 1991 total solar eclipse in Central America are of a social gathering for excited adult relatives who spent hours waiting for an event that was over in minutes.

But the future veterinarian’s gaze was drawn earthward.

“I was looking down on a valley in Guatemala, and I just remember the flock of birds, this massive thing going down to the trees getting ready for nesting, just like what you see at night,” Woc Colburn said, describing a short span when the moon completely obscured the sun. “Then, it felt like a new day. Birds came out and were singing.”

Today she is an associate veterinarian and researcher at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere — which is in the path of totality. During Monday’s total solar eclipse, Woc Colburn’s primary concern once again will be on the animals she has made her life’s work. She predicts birds are likely to provide the greatest spectacle this time around, too.

“We might see something similar with the starlings,” she said. “I’m interested to see whether they go to roost. It will get very noisy if they do.”

Woc Colburn thinks additional bird species and other zoo animals such as lemurs, clouded leopards and kangaroos may also begin to exhibit nighttime habits when totality hits, whether that’s waking up, going to sleep or lining up for a feeding.

It’s all speculation, however, which is something Woc Colburn finds quite surprising.

There is scant research on animal behavior during solar eclipses, owing primarily to the rarity of such events and the difficulty of recording enough observations. That’s poised to change…

Observers nationwide, including visitors to the Nashville Zoo, are being encouraged to join an ambitious and unprecedented attempt at crowdsourced scientific research by using the California Academy of Sciences’ iNaturalist app to document animal reactions.

Nashville researchers also plan to scrape social media postings that tag the zoo. Spokesman Jim Bartoo said researchers will accept any analog observations that are submitted…

Eclipse watchers are bracing for a major bummer should clouds obscure their view. While Woc Colburn agrees that would be a serious letdown, she also noted that clouds shouldn’t affect how animals react, so those who choose to spend the eclipse at the zoo won’t be wholly deprived of a unique experience…

From the earlier WaPo story on the iNaturalist app:

Created by the California Academy of Sciences, iNaturalist allows anyone to take a picture of an animal (or plant or fungi or whatever) and make an attempt to identify it. Then others, including experts, weigh in on whether your ID is correct or not…

On the day of the eclipse, the app will feature a special drawdown menu that allows you to record observations leading up to, during, and after the astronomical event. Simply keep an eye out for any interesting or unusual behavior and snap a few pics while you enjoy the show…

I’ve never tried to download any apps to my second-hand Galaxy S6, but I may have to encourage my ombraphilic Spousal Unit to do so for the big event. Since he plans for us to observe the partial eclipse from our back yard, this will put him into a Virgo dilemma — on the one hand, he could record any unusual behavior on the part of our little rescue dogs; on the other hand, he’ll be terrified that they’ll damage their retinas…

(For the record, I predict even Sydney, who is the youngest and most nervous of our pack, will pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to the Great Event. And even were he to notice, dogs don’t stare at the sun. But if I’m gonna be dragged out to watch the show, I might as well enjoy whatever side benefits I can derive.)

Apart from eclipse-watching preparation, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Friday Night Fights Open Thread: Bannon, the Mucker

Since he first shambled into media view, I’ve thought of Steve Bannon as a mucker… which was not, in the Irish-American community when I was growing up, exactly a term of endearment. To us, a mucker was a guy known to be connected, not exactly a leader but intimately associated with the leadership — someone you called a friend because you sure as hell didn’t want to be known as his enemy.

The Dominican nun who taught theology at my parochial high school said that St. Peter was a mucker (possibly the patron saint of muckers): He was an early, enthusiastic supporter of The Big Guy; he seemed to be around for all the important events, usually making needless trouble; and when worse came to worst, he publicly denied any association with his chieftain, not just once but three times. And yet — as soon as Jesus the radical insurrectionist emerged triumphant from that whole torture-and-crucifixion incident, look who ended up in charge of the Jesus Empire, with his name at the top of the historical plaque!

Steve Bannon, also Irish-American, would’ve been taking catechism classes at approximately the same time as I was. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he heard some version of the the St. Peter, Patron of Muckers story. Everybody needs a role model…

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Calm Before the Storm

I think in the next couple of months, I think we will look at this week with the President outing himself as a Nazi and then trying to cast off Bannon like his pair of jackboots and pretend he is really just Wehrmacht as a relatively peaceful time. He’s increasingly isolated, people are coming at him from all directions, and he has no real beliefs or principles to guide him or orient himself. With the Mueller investigation focusing on his son and everyone abandoning him, things are going to become much more tumultuous and quickly. I also suspect the racist rump of the country is going to become more like Isis than we think, with attacks starting. The rally in Boston tomorrow is something to keep your eyes on.

Back to watching the Defenders.

Economic leverage

Josh Marshall makes a very good point this morning about Trump’s toxicity:

Every president has these industry councils like the ones we’ve been talking about in recent days. They range from meaningless to not terribly important. They’re mainly symbolic. With everything that’s happened in recent days, I don’t want to make it out like the decisions of a small number of CEOs is the biggest news. Still, we should recognize that it is entirely unprecedented to have a sitting president become so toxic that corporate America feels unable to publicly associate with him. That is totally, totally new territory.

Last November, the Brookings Institute looked at the election and they made a very key point. The areas of the country where there was both population density and wealth voted for Clinton.

Visibly enraging not-Trump voters is a money loser.

Early Planning: NYC Meet-Up, Labor Day Weekend?

Got this from prolific Pacific-based commentor NotMax:

Very early feelers regarding a NYC meet-up sometime on Labor Day weekend.

Have a venue in mind but would help to know if Friday, Saturday or Sunday night works best for folks (holiday weekend). Personally partial to Sunday as it would probably offer a less crowded atmosphere.

Leave your notes / suggestions in the comments, or send me an email and I’ll forward it to NotMax.

Friday Afternoon Break Between the Breaking News Open Thread

Knock yourselves out!

It Might Be Breaking News: Bannon On His Way Out?

The New York Times may have breaking news. Or they may not… Basically we’ve achieved Schroedinger’s Bannon.

The NY Times reporting is unclear on exactly what will happen and when.

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

Expect the Mandrill Mentality, the Rage Furby, Lt. JG Clearance Suspended Posobiec, the Breitbrats, and a variety of neo-NAZIs, white nationalists, white supremacists, and the Mercers to proceed directly to frothing at the mouth. It is also important to realize that Bannon wasn’t the actual driver of the problems within the administration, he was merely one of the enablers of it. It is unclear what happens to the allies he helped to install on the White House staff, so those folks may be hanging around for a little while or not.

Updated at 1:30 PM EDT

The Hate Machine (Open Thread)

This morning I did a Twitter rant that I think is worth sharing.

This week we’re seeing more of those advice articles for liberals on how to interact with the special snowflakes who voted for Trump.

Some of the articles come from conservatives who don’t know how to win gracefully.

Some come from well-intentioned liberals, like this one.

There may be some truth in all of them. The Vox article may be useful for dealing with your Trumpist uncle at Thanksgiving.

But turning people around one by one? Not a strategy for reaching voters, sorry.

So I have some advice for conservatives. SHUT OFF THE HATE MACHINE

By Hate Machine, I mean

  • Fox News
  • Sinclair Broadcasting
  • talk radio

The Hate Machine teaches that liberals are evil, and other lies. Listeners to Fox are poorly informed on factual matter, studies show.

The Hate Machine also models victim behavior. A poor snowflake commentator on Fox broke down in tears because people are so JUDGEMENTAL.

You can empathize with your Trumpist uncle on Thanksgiving and he will be back to Fox hate on Friday.

SHUT OFF THE HATE MACHINE Then we’ll be able to talk.

Coda: I’m willing to be civil with Trumpies, but I also point out the damage they’ve done.

And open thread!

Moral Clarity and Vanilla ISIS

Heather Heyer’s mom isn’t interested in talking to Trump:

Ms. Bro says she received “frantic messages” from Trump’s press secretaries during her daughter’s funeral (these fucking people!) and later that day; she was willing to speak to Trump at that point but simply missed his calls since she was occupied with burying her child, who was murdered by a Trump-supporting Nazi. But after seeing a clip of Trump drawing equivalence between her daughter and other counterprotesters and the white supremacist mob, Bro is no longer willing to speak to Trump. Good for her.

On the lighter side, Tina Fey has a suggestion for how sane people might respond to heavily armed white supremacist goons descending on their towns — eat cake:

And speaking of heavily armed white supremacist goons:

I am not a lawyer, and I realize the NRA has its bloody fingers wrapped around the throat of legislatures at the state and federal level. But doesn’t Omidyar have a point here? Wasn’t it a public safety issue when these militia goons swarmed through the center of Charlottesville?

Governor McAuliffe said the local cops were outgunned by the militia goons. Sounds like a public safety issue to me.

We may not be able to roll back these bugfuck-crazy open carry laws any time soon, but can’t cities and towns require unarmed participants as a condition of issuing permits for marches and demonstrations? I know when the RNC held its 2012 convention in Tampa, people were not allowed to bring concealed weapons into the convention zone, even though an NRA representative personally writes every piece of legislation that affects firearms, which our governor then rubber-stamps.

If gun-free zones are good enough for Republican Party delegates, by God, they should be good enough for city centers when homegrown Nazis assemble to spew hate speech. It won’t solve our Nazi problem, obviously — Vanilla ISIS can run people down in the street, as one of their number did in Charlottesville. But it’s a start.

CSR funding and the next best option

Andrew Sprung at Xpostfactoid has pushed back on my argument that Democrats have the advantage of inertia on the CSR funding argument. He raises an excellent point.

1. Cost. CBO projects premium increases of 20% right off the bat in 2018 and 25% by 2020. Higher premiums mean more people qualify for subsidies, and those subsidies are bigger. CBO projects a 10-year cost of $194 billion — to increase coverage by 1 million. In 2026, that 1-million coverage boost would cost a cool $37 billion. CBO’s 2016 projection for spending on marketplace subsidies in 2026 is $106 billion. Imagine the effects of increasing that spending by 36% in more rational ways. Compare, for example, the comprehensive set of subsidy sweeteners proposed by Urban’s Blumberg and John Holahan in 2015 — which included raising the AV of benchmark plans to 80%, reducing the percentage of income paid at every level and capping premiums for all buyers at 8.5% of income. The authors estimated the ten-year price tag at $221 billion over ten years.

This is a very good point. The coverage gains bought by loading all CSR costs onto Silver only are an extraordinarily inefficient way to expand coverage and improve the law. I am not disputing that at all. There are better ways to spend the money to increase coverage. The same coverage increase can be bought far more cheaply by tweaking Medicaid matching rates or encouraging some creative 1332 waivers.

In Health Affairs, Steven Chen has a good blog post on how states could use the CSR windfall to improve coverage via a 1332 waiver. He uses California and 2016 numbers for his example:

Using California as an example, Covered California showed that the termination of CSR payments by the Federal government would cause insurance premiums for silver plans in the individual market to increase by 16.6 percent in 2018. The study also showed an inverse relationship between CSR and APTC: The Federal government paid $750 million in CSR payments in 2016, but if it were to defund CSR payments, not only would it not receive any savings, it would incur an additional $976 million in APTC spending. Using these figures as illustration, if the Federal government had terminated CSR payments in 2016 and if California had provided CSR payments through a 1332 Waiver, under this scenario California would have to pay $750 million in CSR payments, but it would receive $976 million from the Federal government in lost APTC payments—payments California would have otherwise received without waiver—ending up with a total net profit of $226 million!

The ACA needs a technical corrections bill. It needs a “it’s been live for four to eight years and some things work and some things didn’t, let’s push the things that work and fix or drop the duds… bill”

Not funding CSR sets a plausible outcome absent of an agreement. It is a boundary condition. Deals get made when all sides of a deal believe that they have an outcome that is better through an agreement than the outcome which would occur without an agreement. I can easily and readily see deals.

There could be a trade where CSR is funded and $75 billion dollars are allocated to reinsurance and $30 billion dollars are allocated to increasing subsidies for people who make between 200% and 500% FPL. There could be a trade where $100 billion dollars are spent to up CSR 73 to CSR 80 and then adding a new tier of CSR for people making between 250% and 325% FPL so their Silver is now has an actuarial value of 75%. There could be a trade where Medicaid 1115 waivers can be integrated with 1331 (Basic Health Plan) and 1332 (State Innovation) ACA waivers as well as additional funding for safety net hospitals and community health centers. There could be dozens of deals that spend less money, cover more people and fix known problems. But all of these deals are premised that the outcome due to no agreement is a significant albeit inefficient Democratic policy victory.

On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Juicers who are are on the road, traveling, or just want to share a little bit of their world via stories and pictures. So many of us rise each morning, eager for something beautiful, inspiring, amazing, subtle, of note, and our community delivers – a view into their world, whether they’re far away or close to home – pictures with a story, with context, with meaning, sometimes just beauty. By concentrating travel updates and tips here, it’s easier for all of us to keep up or find them later.

So please, speak up and share some of your adventures and travel news here, and submit your pictures using our speedy, secure form. You can submit up to 7 pictures at a time, with an overall description and one for each picture.

You can, of course, send an email with pictures if the form gives you trouble, or if you are trying to submit something special, like a zipped archive or a movie. If your pictures are already hosted online, then please email the links with your descriptions.

For each picture, it’s best to provide your commenter screenname, description, where it was taken, and date. It’s tough to keep everyone’s email address and screenname straight, so don’t assume that I remember it “from last time”. More and more, the first photo before the fold will be from a commenter, so making it easy to locate the screenname when I’ve found a compelling photo is crucial.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

My mom, with me hiding inside, 1970, Les Dents de Midi, Canton de Valais, Switzerland, though the view could be in Vaud, as that’s where my dad was from.

I recently discovered a stash of slides of my mom from that summer, when she was pregnant with me, her only child. They were taken by my dad where they lived in Kinshasa, when they visited his family in Switzerland, and then hers in the US. He collected and sequestered just these few slides into a cool cigar box, and it/they survived the house fire. It was almost like my dad’s ghost pushed me to select and look at this specific set, right as her health took a turn.

ps – all image enhancing suggestions welcome via email. I have PaintShopPro and am not really graphically skilled. I am scanning in old slides from the 40’s-70’s, many with fire/water/chemical/atmospheric/mold residue. Most were processed in top-class, professional-service labs in Switzerland, NYC, Houston, Bogota, Lima, Tulsa, etc. – oil towns, if you will (though I doubt my dad trusted the local outfit in Cochobamba, TBH). The oldest have very washed out colors, but many from the 50’s are surprisingly good. It’s so neat to see pics of Manhattan that my dad took to then take back to his family in Switzerland to show – he was very academic, in a totally Swiss way.

Pro tip: when 1 hour into a 4.5-6 hour surgery of a loved one, the phone rings, and it’s the surgeon, don’t lose focus – it’s not necessarily dire, and good question and listening skills are critical. But it wasn’t good news either – the cancer has spread onto my mom’s liver and surgery is thus off. Chemo will be scheduled tomorrow, likely beginning in two weeks. Not good, but I’m not preparing a funeral for next week, thankfully. I’ve been there, since my father didn’t tell us he was (non-cancer) terminal and his death was a shock (well, just the timing was for me, but that’s another painful confession for another day).

So I needed some joyful pics, and luckily we have a wonderful bird expert who also has a way with words. No – not Betty!

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Friday Morning Open Thread: First Trumps Second

Following clashes over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., the civil-rights group also will screen clients more closely for the potential of violence at their rallies, said Anthony Romero, who has been the ACLU’s executive director since 2001.

The ACLU’s Virginia branch defended the right of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other groups under the banner “Unite the Right” to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville park.

The revised policy marries the 97-year-old civil-rights group’s First Amendment work with the organization’s stance on firearms, which aligns with many municipalities and states that bar protesters from carrying weapons…

Apart from the ongoing #Resistance, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another exhausting week?

Meanwhile, the Boston news stations are treating Saturday’s proposed Boston Common rally as they would a potentially dangerous weather event — which seems about right for a cascade of dirty snowflakes. Jersey barriers have been lifted into place, the Swan Boats and Frog Pond will be shut down, protestors on both sides will be kept well apart, and both food and clothing vendors are banned (no snacks for looky-loos, and no giant displays of offensive ‘memorabilia’). And kudos to the goog people doing ‘protest training’, and to WCBV/Ch5 for covering them: