“Extremely Calm” (Open Thread)

Trump sounds not at all like an unhinged loon in this tweet from earlier today, right?

Pelosi gave a different account of the meeting that preceded the ranty, rambling Rose Garden rage-fest:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Thursday at her press conference that she watched President Donald Trump “pound on the table” and “walk out the door” during the infrastructure meeting planned for Wednesday.

“Next time, have the TV cameras in there while I have my say,” she said. “That didn’t work for him either. Now this time, another temper tantrum.”

“Again, I pray for the president of the United States,” she added. “I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.

Emphasis mine. Say whatever you will about Pelosi, but she knows how to push Rage Grandpa’s buttons.

At the same meeting, Pelosi also snubbed Kellyanne Conway so savagely that the chief purveyor of lies for Pussy Grabore ransacked her tattered bag of stock retorts and lamely implied Pelosi preferred to talk to the boss rather than the underling because Pelosi is sexist!

“I knew he was looking for a way out,” Pelosi said in response to Trump’s walkout, according to the Times. “We were expecting this.”

Conway then asked Pelosi if she had “a direct response” to Trump’s complaints.

The House Speaker told Conway that she was going to respond to the President, not his staff, the Times reported.

“Really great,” Conway shot back. “That’s really pro-woman of you.”

Conway whined about the snub some more this morning on Fox News:

“She treats me like I’m either her maid or her driver or her pilot or her makeup artist driver, and I’m not.”

Conway added that the House speaker is “not very pro-woman. She’s pro-some women.”

Asked about that comment today, Pelosi said:

“I’m not going to talk about her,” Pelosi said. “I responded as the speaker of the House to the President of the United States. Other conversations people want to have among themselves is up to them.”

In other words, “What part of co-equal do you not understand, you stringy-haired, rodent-faced motherfucker?”

She’s a dark horse, our Nancy.








APCD yeah you know me

The Senate just released a major bi-partisan proposal to tweak several significant health policy challenges. The headline proposal is eliminating surprise billing which occurs when a patient goes to an in-network provider and then gets an out of network bill for a specific set of services that they may or may not have consented to.

However, the data geek in me is hyper excited about Section 303. Here, the Senate is proposing a national all payers claims database (APCD).

‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of the Lower Health Care Costs Act, shall have in effect a contract with a nonprofit entity to support the establishment
and maintenance of a database that receives and utilizes health care claims information and related information and issues reports that are available to the public and authorized users, and are submitted to the Department of Labor.

I am truly geeking out about the requirement that self-insured plans which are regulated by the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) will be required to submit de-identified data. ERISA has a strong pre-emption of state laws for self-insured plans. The Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that ERISA pre-emption meant that states could not require self-insured plans to send data to state based APCD. Self-insured plans make up the overwhelming majority of large employer groups so missing this data means any database is wildly and non-randomly incomplete which limits the research value of these databases.

From a policy side, the argument for an exhaustive and near complete APCD is that it will compress price variation and allow for better/smarter negotiations and explicit trade-offs in designing benefits and networks. That should be cost saving. It will also allow for far better research that has far more generalizability with fewer caveats.

This is a big deal if signed into law and it should start providing good insight in a few years if it is enacted. I know I have at least one 2020 research idea where a complete APCD would be absolutely wonderful as the self-insured universe faces a different set of rules and incentives than the ACA universe for a particular problem I want to poke at. I know other researchers have similar projects in their want to do list too.








I Don’t Know What the Fuck is Going On

I have no idea what is going on with the ads- I tried to disable them all by removing the widgets and they are still showing up. I am working on this. I feel like Barry Corbin in WarGames- I’d piss on the god damn spark plug if I thought that would stop WOPR.

Between the angst and anger and divisiveness in the comments over the rebuild I am ready to just take a blow torch and kerosene to the god damned website.

I’m having the ad people fix this shit asap.








“Shocking” News: Elizabeth Warren Is Extremely Competent!

Annie Linskey has been paid to hate-stalk her since Elizabeth Warren first challenged Scott Brown; she’s got a real shot at being this election cycle’s Amy Chozick. Read anything she produces with that bias firmly in mind.

Stripped of its some people say innuendo, the ‘news’ is that Elizabeth Warren was a very good bankruptcy-law expert, and firms who could afford the best were willing to compensate her accordingly. I guess Trump’s go-to racial slur is no longer working so effectively, so his Media Village defenders are switching to the ‘This woman accepted money from rich people!!!’ kabuki-outrage that worked so effectively against HRClinton. The ‘raises questions’ crap about whether taking money from asbestos manufacturers or Dow Chemical to get the best possible compensation for their victims was extensively pundit-litigated during Warren’s first Senatorial campaign, and it didn’t work then, but no doubt Linskey and her cronies will do their best to make it the new ButHerEmails:

Warren’s presidential campaign released a list of 56 cases on her website on Wednesday night, revealing a far higher number of cases than Warren (D-Mass.) had previously disclosed and lending detail to an aspect of her career that she rarely discusses in public…

“Elizabeth was one of the nation’s top experts on how to make sure victims hurt by bankrupt companies eventually got paid,” Warren’s website said Wednesday night. “Throughout her career, she worked to help set up trusts and other mechanisms to return $27 billion to victims and their families.”

A nationally recognized expert in bankruptcy law, Warren consulted for more than a dozen committees representing claimants and creditors in these cases, often in partnership with the law firm Caplin & Drysdale, for an hourly rate of $675…

Details about Warren’s compensation were scant in court records. Documents reviewed by The Post showed that Warren made at least $462,321.75 from her work in 13 cases, although the total for those cases might be much higher. Warren has released only her last 10 years of tax returns, and much of her legal consulting work is not reflected in those documents.

The Post found that Warren took on outside legal work in as early as 1991, when she was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The work appears to have picked up in 1995, when she joined the faculty at Harvard Law School, and intensified through the early 2000s as she worked on a series of mass tort bankruptcies.

Warren’s roles in these cases varied. At times, she served as an expert witness or filed briefs; at other times, she advised fellow attorneys or represented clients directly. She worked in more than 20 different courts, including the Supreme Court, where she worked on at least eight cases…

Note the new standard, per my emphasis: “only” the last ten years’ tax returns. Sometimes I wish hypocrisy at this level was physically painful.








On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Something short and sweet, and just plain awesome. An unexpected blossom/fruiting tree post-purchase is a dream. A former house of mine had a small pear and a small peach tree out front. In-season, the mailman happily took one fruit per day on his driving rounds, a smile beaming from a 1/2 block away as he approached. He was a tea party jerk, most likely now a diehard MAGAT. I hated his leer but loved that my trees welcomed and sustained him, even if he wished for our (pro-Obama/liberal) despair.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the picture!

Read more








Thursday Morning Open Thread: Jabba the Barr

(Nick Anderson via GoComics.com)
.

… “I think Bill Barr has all the duplicity of Rudy Giuliani without all the good looks and general likability of Rudy Guliani,” Schiff said during the Center for American Progress 2019 Ideas Conference Wednesday. “The most dangerous thing, I think, that Bill Barr has done is basically say that a president under investigation can make the investigation go away if he thinks its unfair which, by the way, means the other 14 investigations firmed up through other offices he can also make go away.”

Earlier Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee postponed a vote to potentially hold Barr in contempt of Congress, following his refusal to testify before the committee last week. Schiff, who chairs that committee, said in a statement explaining the postponement that the “Department of Justice has accepted our offer of a first step towards compliance with our subpoena, and this week will begin turning over to the Committee twelve categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials as part of an initial rolling production.”…








Election 2020 Open Thread: ‘The Cheesecake Factory Candidate’

Someone in the replies to this tweet came up with the ‘Cheesecake Factory Primary (candidate).’ This is… not a bad analogy, IMO. And not to defend the usual objects of Village Idiot coddling, but there’s a lot of people think of the Cheesecake Factory as a nice restaurant, when they need one. White tablecloths, a fat menu with fru-fru drinks, no salad bar. You can schedule an office party or bridal shower there without worrying that your guests will be either appalled or intimidated.

Thing is, I don’t think this is an ordinary, low-stakes, Cheesecake Factory election. But we have (Murphy the Trickster God willing) a good few months yet during which the other candidates can show off their talents, so here’s to a good clean competition…


Read more








Grifters Gonna Grift Open Thread: It’s the American GOP Way!


Your Honor, my client is but a humble immigrant aspiring to achieve some portion of the wealth and fame accruing to more favored agents selling ‘Presidential’ access to foreign nationals. Such as, for instance, the Oval Office Occupant’s daughter, son-in-law, and business partners…

Last week, Li “Cindy” Yang, the Florida massage parlor entrepreneur and Trump donor who has been part of the recent controversy involving Donald Trump’s private resort, Mar-a-Lago, filed a defamation lawsuit against the parent company of the Miami Herald… The suit claims the newspaper published false statements about Yang and her business that suggested illegal conduct had occurred in her spas. But the suit also contained a surprising passage that acknowledged that Yang had also run a business that provided Chinese executives “access to American business and political culture”—and this included entry to events at Mar-a-Lago.
Read more








C.R.E.A.M. Open Thread: Investigators Circling In, Trump Spiraling Down

Backup plan:


Read more








Lining Up Volunteers to Test the Site: Early Evening Edition

Good evening!

It’s time to check in with the early evening Juicers to see who is interested in testing the site rebuild.  No rollout of any system has ever been perfect, probably in the history of the world, so I don’t expect this one to be, either. So please think about whether you might have some time for serious testing, and start thinking about the devices etc that you have available for testing.

We want to identify people who access Balloon Juice on various devices (laptops or tablets or phones), using various operating systems (Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, etc.) and various browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc.)

Some examples: Dell Inspiron laptop, running Windows 7, browsers Firefox (version #) and Google Chrome (version #) OR MacBook Pro running High Sierra (10.13.6), browser: Safari 12.1 OR iPad, running iOS 12.2, browser: Safari 12.2.

You can volunteer in this thread or send email to me at BJfestivus at the google mail place.

In fact, please send email even if you do volunteer in this thread so I will have a way to contact volunteers.

We really want to put the site to the test: pressing every button, clicking every link, trying the same thing on multiple devices, operating systems or browsers. If that sounds too tedious, then this isn’t the job for you.

Oh, and I see that WordPress is still grumpy – on all the testing threads so far it has randomly inserted a big blank space. I think this server knows it’s about to be replaced and is taking its revenge.

Thanks in advance to anyone who volunteers!

P.S.  Anne Laurie has a post in progress, but I don’t think this testing post will be in competition with that.








Today in Headlines Mad Libs

May you live in interesting times, they say:

I hope we get some better writers for Season 2020.








The President Has Thrown a (Semi-Choreographed) Temper Tantrum

To quickly follow up on TaMara’s update, the President went into a scheduled Oval Office meeting with Democratic congressional leaders, lost his shit, and walked out after three minutes and then convened an “impromptu” Rose Garden press statement. I put impromptu into quotes, because someone had printed handouts for the White House Press Corps ready.

From The New York Times (emphasis mine):

President Trump abruptly blew up a scheduled meeting with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday, lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up and declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him.

He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.” He said they could not legislate and investigate at the same time. “We’re going to go down one track at a time,” he said.

The confrontation came on a day when pressure over a possible impeachment effort raised temperatures on both sides of the aisle. Ms. Pelosi arrived at the White House for a session with the president set to talk about infrastructure shortly after meeting with restive House Democrats to talk about impeachment. She emerged from that meeting with Democrats accusing Mr. Trump of a “cover-up.”

When she and Senator Chuck Schumer arrived at the White House, Mr. Trump was loaded for bear. He walked into the Cabinet Room, did not shake anyone’s hand or sit in his seat, according to a Democrat informed about the meeting. He said he wanted to advance legislation on infrastructure, trade and other matters, but that “Speaker Pelosi said something terrible today and accused me of a cover-up,” according to the Democrat.

After just three minutes, he left the room before anyone else could speak, the Democrat said.

From TPM (emphasis mine):

“Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in and look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up, I don’t do cover-ups,” he said. “You people know probably better than anybody.”

He later said that Democrats need to choose between “investigation” or “investment,” implying that he won’t work with Democrats until investigations into him and his administration are over.

Speaker Pelosi has clearly gotten under his skin, just as she did with the shutdown.

Gonna be a long, hot summer in DC.

Open thread.








Article In Foreign Policy And Chernobyl Questions

I’ve got an article in Foreign Policy. It’s more than the headline – Anne I. Harrington and I look at the kinds of masculinity that have been associated with control over nuclear weapons and how Trump fits into that.

Also – I think this week’s was the third (?) in the Chernobyl HBO series. As I’ve said before, I’m not watching because I have no desire to see a dramatization of acute radiation syndrome. But I was on a rapid reaction team at Los Alamos to try to figure out if we could help as the news of the accident unfolded. So feel free to ask questions here, and I’ll try to answer them.








Open Thread: DOJ Blinks? ETA: And Trump Whines

ETA: Okay….so now the President has called a Rose Garden meeting with the press to…whine.

This seems encouraging:

=================================

(quotation feature is borking the layout so I took it out)

Washington (CNN)House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff is scrapping a Wednesday morning meeting intended to take an “enforcement action” against the Justice Department after it agreed to begin providing the committee with counterintelligence documents from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The decision to postpone the business meeting — where Schiff threatened to take an unspecified action against Attorney General William Barr for not complying with the committee’s subpoena for Mueller’s counterintelligence materials — is a rare sign of the Trump administration and a House panel successfully negotiating around a Democratic subpoena for documents.

The development also is a significant boost to Schiff in his effort to view the special counsel’s investigative materials beyond what was contained in the public Mueller report, especially given the Trump administration’s typical stance of all-out resistance to Democrats’ subpoenas and investigative requests.

Schiff had issued a subpoena for all of Mueller’s counterintelligence materials, but he had proposed that the Justice Department begin the effort by providing 12 specific sets of counterintelligence materials that were referenced in the Mueller report. The Justice Department wrote in a letter to Schiff Tuesday that it was continuing to review the initial tranche of 12 categories of documents Schiff wanted and would make them available “in relatively short order,” so long as he didn’t move forward with an action holding Barr in contempt of Congress.

“The Department of Justice has accepted our offer of a first step towards compliance with our subpoena, and this week will begin turning over to the Committee twelve categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials as part of an initial rolling production. That initial production should be completed by the end of next week,” Schiff said in a statement Wednesday morning.

=================================

Adam Schiff always impresses me when I hear him speak.  Another chip in the obstruction brick wall. Meanwhile Mnuchin is prepping for his orange jumpsuit fitting.

Open thread








Lining Up Volunteers to Test the Site: Morning Edition

Good morning!

It’s time to check in with the morning people to see who is interested in testing the site rebuild.

No rollout of any system has ever been perfect, probably in the history of the world, so I don’t expect this one to be, either.  So please think about whether you might have some time for serious testing, and start thinking about the devices etc that you have available for testing.

We want to identify people who access Balloon Juice on various devices (laptops or tablets or phones), using various operating systems (Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, etc.) and various browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc.)

Some examples: Dell Inspiron laptop, running Windows 7, browsers Firefox (version #) and Google Chrome (version #) OR MacBook Pro running High Sierra (10.13.6), browser: Safari 12.1 OR iPad, running iOS 12.2, browser: Safari 12.2.  You can volunteer in this thread or send email to me at BJfestivus at the google mail place.

In fact, please send email even if you do volunteer in this thread so I will have a way to contact volunteers.

We really want to put the site to the test: pressing every button, clicking every link, trying the same thing on multiple devices, operating systems or browsers. If that sounds too tedious, then this isn’t the job for you.

Oh, and I see that WordPress is still grump – on both the testing threads so far it has randomly inserted a big blank space.  I think this server knows it’s about to be replaced and is taking its revenge.

Thanks in advance to anyone who volunteers!