Parenting post

When I only had a single toddler, I had two primary thoughts when I was out and about with her:

  • Don’t drop the baby
  • Don’t lose the baby

I succeeded at those two objectives.

When we had my son, second-child parenting priorities reduced my thoughts to:

  • Don’t lose the baby

Again, we were successful at not losing my son.  It still helps that to this day he thinks that the height of shoe fashion involves light-up shoes.  We can track him from fifty yards away.  I won’t tell him otherwise until he is at least seventeen.

So when I saw this, I can not understand the thought process:

Camo-gear will neither help nor hinder the imperative of “Don’t drop the baby”

Camo-gear makes losing the baby easier. We want the baby to be brightly colored with elephants on their butt as that is completely unnatural and our eyes are good at tracking unnatural.

Open thread.

Suburban trees, suburban speed

I don’t have the highest opinion of the national committees (DCCC, DSCC, etc.), but they do one thing well: carpet bomb competitive districts with simplistic mass-produced ads in the six weeks before an election. Normally, that may not accomplish much, but this year, I think it will in many districts. Why? The tax bill raises taxes for many people in suburban New York, California, New Jersey, and even Texas, because of the cap on the SALT deduction. It’s pretty fucking easy to run a lot of ads telling upper middle-class people that their Republican representative just raised their taxes.

A lot of you have brought up raising money for candidates in some of these very districts. I think it makes more sense to just give the money to the DCCC and let them take it from there, since they will surely spend most of their money on these districts.

So let’s raise some money for the DCCC. I’ll tell you upfront I’m giving them $50 a month myself.

Goal Thermometer

Pants on FIRE

Busted outright:

There is no honor among anti-immigrant advocates and liars, I suppose. After dutifully lying on behalf of the president regarding his abhorrent language (“shithole countries”), Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) were outed by the White House. The Post reports:

Three White House officials said Perdue and Cotton told the White House that they heard “shithouse” rather than “shithole,” allowing them to deny the president’s comments on television over the weekend. The two men initially said publicly that they could not recall what the president said.

Not only did these two repeatedly lie, but Cotton also impugned the integrity of Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), who told the truth. Asked whether the accusation that Trump spoke the offending words or the sentiment was phony, Cotton lied, “Yes.” He went on to say, “Senator Durbin has misrepresented what happened in White House meetings before, and he was corrected by Obama administration officials by it.”

Anyone who quotes them in the media should note with the quote that they are blatant liars and have lied to the media before.

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso

I read one of those articles suggested in the comments about Beto O’Rourke. He really sounds like an exciting candidate. And here’s a good article about turning Texas blue.

Look, between now and 2020, I’m going to be running a lot of positive articles about young, upcoming potential Democratic stars. We will have plenty of time to decide they are all worthless sell-outs later.

Let’s raise a little more money for Beto O’Rourke in the meantime.

Goal Thermometer

Liars, all the way down

The Justice Department sure is shouty today:

This is the equivalent of Jeff Sessions holding a boombox aloft in the White House driveway and blaring “In Your Eyes” at Trump. But it also reminds me of this creative re-purposing of Microsoft’s dreaded Clippy widget:

Can you spot the logical fallacy involved in Sessions’ attempt to demonize all furriners to further the racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda he shares with his boss? I’ll give you a hint: international terrorism tends to involve global actors, whereas domestic terrorism features homegrown goobers.

Trump is lying on Twitter this morning about “Amnesty” and “Border Security” and “the Russia Collusion Hoax” and “our VERY DANGEROUS SOUTHERN BORDER” and “a great WALL.” Still hasn’t thrown Sessions a bone, despite the hard work on that report. Sad!

In other news, Trump’s DHS Secretary, who I believe used to work for John Kelly when he was enthusiastically enacting Trump’s bigoted immigration policies (before he was called up to supervise the adult daycare center on Penn Ave) says Dreamers have nothing to worry about, even if there is no DACA deal:

She’s a liar. How do we know? Because she lied under oath to a congressional committee today.

The Trump administration is a Russian nesting doll of lies — falsehoods inside prevarications containing fibs enclosing untruths enveloping deceits. Liars, all the way down.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread

The next step after Donald Trump’s trashing of the immigration proposal is a government shutdown. The Republicans, having been bit once by their doing that kind of thing, are, of course, trying to hang it on the Democrats. We’ll see how the media spin it if it happens, but my early readings are not good.

We didn’t need to ask to know the answer to that one.

Except for the possible electoral blowback, Republicans probably see a government shutdown as a plus – it shows how badly the government works. Those of you who have to prepare for this have my full sympathy – I’ve gone through it, and it sucks.

Are you one of the unfortunates preparing? Or do you have something better going today?

Bad news everybody

Gallup reports that the uninsured rate is increasing:

 The percentage of U.S. adults without health insurance was essentially unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2017, at 12.2%, but it is up 1.3 percentage points from the record low of 10.9% found in the last quarter of 2016.

I think that number will continue to increase over the next couple of years.  Here are the factors that will lead to more people uncovered:

  • Higher premiums for off-Exchange/non-subsidized enrollment
  • Less marketing and outreach for on-Exchange/subsidized enrollment
  • No individual mandate
  • Messaging environment that deprioritizes coverage
  • Medicaid work requirements and hassle barriers

There are some factors that could lead to more people covered

    • Continued aging into Medicare
    • Cherry picking of healthy individual market folks into short term plans at very low premiums.
    • Continued Silverloading due to the non-funding of CSR.
    • 1332 waivers that prioritize reinsurance using the CSR windfall to lower premiums for off-Exchange individuals.

I think that as long as the fundamental structure of the ACA is in place and even if it acts as a high cost high risk pool, there is an upper limit on the number of people who are uninsured.  I am not quite sure where that limit is but I strongly believe it is significantly less than 18%.

Centene and hassle screening

Centene is facing a lawsuit that its networks are too narrow and that not all of the docs that it says are in network actually accept their Ambetter individual market insurance.

Centene’s Coordinated Care subsidiary faced a fine and regulatory action by Washington State regulators in December. They failed to have an adequate network.

Coordinated Care Corp. has agreed to a consent order detailing steps it must take to fix its provider network deficiencies and other ongoing issues. The company was fined $1.5 million with $1 million suspended, pending no further violations over the next two years…
In particular, Coordinated Care admitted to not having enough anesthesiologists in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Spokane counties. According to the company’s own data, its provider network is also seriously deficient in other categories of providers, including immunology, dermatology, and rheumatology. [my emphasis]

The ROAD specialties are Radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology and dermatology. These specialties tend to be high cost and comparatively speaking conducive to good work-life balance for the docs. Centene’s own data shows an issue with two of these specialties. There are two stories that can be told.

The company friendly story is that they are trying to recruit for these specialties and at some point they had an adequate network but someone had the nerve to die or retire on them. Every network manager had that happen to them at least once. They’re trying and if someone really needs a dermatologist, an out of network service will be authorized for in-network cost sharing. That is their story to tell.

The other story is a bit more cynical. We know that Centene’s business strategy in multiple insurer regions is built on cherry picking the healthiest chunk of the population by offering very low cost, narrow network products and spamming the Silver subsidy point. This strategy leads to very large risk adjustment outflows as comparatively few people with high cost or complex medical needs sticks with Centene. They are explicit about this strategy by their pricing, their networks and benefit designs.

The more cynical story is that the lack of ROAD specialists is part and parcel with this story. Dermatology, rheumatology and immunology are specialties that are capable of generating large claims for both the specialist and then follow-up inpatient and pharmaceutical claims. If there are either no one in those specialties or if those specialties can only be accessed after the patient fills in fourteen forms in triplicate in Number 7 pencil, those claims can be averted as the patients who need those types of providers will have decided that the hassle is not worth it. Instead, those patients with their higher than typical risk scores are covered by someone else and Centene pays some risk adjustment money out to partially compensate for the risk transfer.

That is the story that the plaintiffs will try to tell.

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!

Some issues remain with the form so slim pickings this morning. I’ll manually work out the kinks tomorrow for some wonderful Vietnam pics from Le Comte. Followed by more from JR’s trip to New Mexico.

Read more

Interesting Read (… Between the Lines): ‘John Kelly is the man Fred Trump always wanted Donald Trump to be’

Given this was published in Politico, seems like somebody wants Kelly gone, soonest:

President Donald Trump stirs up so many problems on a daily basis that his chief of staff, John Kelly, has come to define his success in terms of his ability to solve them. “If we end the day in neutral,” Kelly has told close associates on several occasions, “it’s a good day.”…

Thursday seemed to offer a case study of the challenges confronting Kelly — and it illustrates why he has come to adopt a largely defensive approach to his job. The day began with the president tweeting his opposition to the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — a measure his own party was trying to push through Congress. It ended with a report that, in a closed-door meeting on immigration, he had demanded to know why the United States was admitting so many immigrants from “shithole countries.”

“In the chief-of-staff job, you juggle the balls that you have to. But normally, you know what those balls are. Now, you have a president who keeps throwing new balls, so [Kelly] is constantly having to rejuggle,” said Leon Panetta, President Bill Clinton’s onetime chief of staff.

The White House disputed the notion that Kelly blamed himself for the president’s remarks, and said that every day the American people go to bed safe is a good day.

But Kelly’s mind-set, reported by POLITICO for the first time, is a testament to how Trump has transformed not only the presidency but the role of presidential chief of staff. Often described as the second most-powerful position in government, the job has previously demanded a deep understanding of politics and policy. Presidential No. 2s have worked to ration their bosses’ time and to help them prioritize in order to push their agendas forward; Kelly more often tries to keep Trump occupied and at arm’s length from the levers of power and the workings of government.

He’s baby-sitting a giant toddler, wadya expect?

His attitude is not entirely unprecedented. Jimmy Carter’s chief of staff, Jack Watson, referred to the chief of staff as the “javelin catcher” — though in his analogy, the javelins were heading toward, rather than coming from, the president. At the same time, some are raising concerns that Kelly, whose military background gives him a discrete Washington toolkit, is trying to do too much…

Current and former colleagues say that even as Kelly has taken greater control over legislative affairs — in late December, he announced that the administration’s congressional liaison, Marc Short, would report directly to him — he has a dim view of lawmakers, sometimes referring to them as “a bunch of idiots,” according to two White House aides. He also has expressed frustration with the pace at which legislation moves through Congress.
Read more

Monday Night Open Thread

I’ve tried to post like three times today, but all these fucking MLK hot takes are just making me want to puke. Getting very tired of random idiots and political telling me what he meant, which is invariably whatever advances their agenda.

That and the loss of Betty’s beloved Patsy really sent me for a loop- the suddenness of it gave me Tunch flashbacks, so I have been kind of avoiding the site today. I just feel so bad for Betty and her husband.

In other news, I went to make ice cream tonight, and realized halfway through I didn’t have enough sugar, so I substituted brown sugar. Realizing that was going to significantly change the taste, I decided to use a little butter rum extract along with vanilla, add a couple egg yolks, and then added some golden raisins to make a rum raisin. I’m using the gelato setting, and it should be done in about ten minutes, so I will update with a picture when I am done.

How about you all? And I am going to get these damned calendars done tomorrow.

*** Update ***

One thing that has become clear to me is that store bought ice cream uses WAY more sugar than what I use and far LESS cream.

Open Thread: “BOTH Sides!” — MLK Day Edition


But then! — the Horseshoe Theory in action…

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Some Thoughts On Martin Luther King Day From The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Himself

There is really nothing I can say about what the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was trying to teach us all and motivate us all to accomplish that he did not say himself. Given that reality, here he is in his own words. The Other America (1967):

The Three Evils of Society (1967):

Beyond Vietnam (1967):

Finally, as I wrote in last year’s Independence Day post, during the years prior to the Great Rebellion, America abolitionists rewrote the lyrics to My Country Tis of Thee. This abolitionist variant, done in a minor key, becomes a haunting spiritual begging the divine providence cited by the Founders in the Declaration, Constitution, and their other writings to finally bring liberty to all. This variant is below:

I will only say, in honor of the day and the man it is named after, that if one is not considered equal, then none of us are equal. And if one is not free, none of us are free. That has always been the challenge of America’s ideals versus America’s reality. It is up to us to do the hard work, small and large, to bridge that gap and to truly form a more perfect Union. Open thread!

Anybody Up for Another Seattle Meet-Up?

Request from party-sparker Yutsano:

Time for me to venture to the Emerald City once more!

Slight tighter deadline for set-up as I’ll be in town from the 20th to the 23rd of January. My medical stuff is the 23rd but otherwise I have zero planned at this point.

And yes this time I will check where we’re meeting so I know for sure! I will be staying downtown however so I will have some flexibility.

Leave a comment below, or email me directly at, and I’ll forward your message to Yutsano.

Late Afternoon Update: Puppy Snow Day

I had a request for a good news/puppy post. I am happy to oblige. Anything for you, Betty.

Lil’ bit is growing like a weed. I was able to put Bixby’s first collar on her this week, and while it was still plenty big, I noticed today it wasn’t quite as big. I needed to have her name tag on her so I can HEAR her comings and goings. Otherwise, I’m following her all over the house instead of getting any work done.

Today was her first official snow day. She’s not quite sold on it, but did run around and snuffle her way across the yard.

Bixby on the other hand is in his element. He LOVES snow.

Open thread.