Late Night Yapper Open Thread: Corgis Have Knees (But O’Reilly Has No Clue)


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That poor dog. Maybe she just doesn’t like cameras, but she looks so miserable. And like her knees hurt.

(Anatomically, of course, that’s ‘taking an elbow’, but yeah it’s the canine equivalent to show respect.)



Late Evening Open Thread: Florida Plane! Wait, What????

So this happened in St. Petersberg today:

News Channel 8 has the details:

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A small plane crashed on a road and hit multiple cars in St. Petersburg Wednesday afternoon.
St. Pete police and fire departments are on scene at 18th Avenue South and 16th Street South.

Two people were on the plane.

Four people overall were taken to area hospitals and one person was treated at the scene.

According to the FAA website, the plane is a 1978 model Cessna 402b, owned by Noble Charter Service out of Opa Locka airport.

Stay frosty and look up on occasion!

Open thread!



Pennies For Pence

Groupon!!  Best headline of the day:

Cost to see VP Mike Pence in Denver plummets after tickets struggle to sell

The original minimum ticket for the Mike Pence event was $275. Now it’s $150.

Because of a lack of demand, the Colorado Republican Party is offering a Groupon-like deal to see Vice President Mike Pence.

Pence is the headliner for a party fundraiser Oct. 26 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, where the minimum-priced tickets originally cost $275.

The party announced the event weeks earlier but struggled to sell the 800 tickets available. So now it’s lowering the lowest-price ticket to $150, a 45 percent discount. A couple can attend with a two-for-one deal at the original $275 price.

Colorado Republican Party Chairman Jeff Hays tried to put his best spin on the news, writing in an email Wednesday: “Due to popular demand, we have made more tickets available at a new lower price.” But the same invite later says space is limited.

read the rest at  the Denver Post

Here’s what I think of that:

What’s making your day better? Open thread



Trump Opens Another Front in His Personal War with Military Families

“President” Flapjaw had to play the big shot in front of the cameras yesterday; when he got called on his bullshit, he went on the offensive (‘offensive’ being his baseline state). That gave the Washington Post an(other) excuse to go do some actual investigative reporting — “Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 in a call, but didn’t follow through”:

Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, told The Washington Post that Trump called him at his home in Zebulon, N.C., a few weeks after his 22-year-old son and two fellow soldiers were gunned down by an Afghan police officer in a suspected insider attack June 10. Their phone conversation lasted about 15 minutes, Baldridge said, and centered for a time on the father’s struggle with the manner in which his son was killed.

“I said, ‘Me and my wife would rather our son died in trench warfare,’ “ Baldridge said. “I feel like he got murdered over there.”

Trump’s offer of $25,000 adds another dimension to the president’s relations with Gold Star families, an honorific given to those whose loved ones die while serving in support of the nation’s wars. The disclosure follows questions about how often the president has called or written to grieving military families.

The Washington Post contacted the White House about Baldridge’s account on Wednesday morning. Officials declined to discuss the events in detail.

But White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement Wednesday afternoon, “The check has been sent. It’s disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the President, and using it to advance the media’s biased agenda. “…

The president has faced worsening backlash since details emerged of his phone call Tuesday with the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed Oct. 4 alongside three other U.S. soldiers in Niger. After not addressing the incident for 12 days, Trump on Monday falsely claimed that previous presidents never or rarely called the families of fallen service members. In fact, they did so regularly…

Trump denied the allegation Wednesday morning. But the fallen soldier’s childhood guardian, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post that she also was in the car when the White House called, and said that “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”

In all, seven Gold Star families contacted by The Post said they have had phone conversations with Trump. Most said they appreciated the gesture. Four families said they have not received a call and were upset. One said Trump had not called but that they knew the late soldier would not want his death politicized. An additional family said that it had corresponded with the White House, but declined to elaborate…

Euvince Brooks’s son, Sgt. Roshain E. Brooks, 30, was killed Aug. 13 in Iraq. He has not heard from the White House. The president’s claim this week that he had called every military family to lose a son or daughter only upset the Brooks family more.

Brooks said that after watching the news on Tuesday night he wanted to set up a Twitter account to try and get the President’s attention.

“I said to my daughter, ‘Can you teach me to tweet, so I can tweet at the president and tell him he’s a liar?’” he said. “You know when you hear people lying, and you want to fight? That’s the way I feel last night. He’s a damn liar.”

Of course Trump doesn’t have to contact the grieving families — as my Nana used to say, the only things you “have to” do are breathe and someday die. But if the stupid bastid had enough sense to simply not run his big yap, the families wouldn’t have been put to further abuse and the rest of us wouldn’t have been “gifted” this new example of Trump’s basic sociopathy.

THANKS EVER SO MUCH FOR IMPOSING THIS MONSTER ON THE REST OF US, REPUBS!



“The Ambassador from Russia is Russian”

KKKeebler Elf brings his outraged honor act to the Senate Judiciary Committee — for an audience of one. Senator Franken isn’t taken in by the moonlight and magnolias act:

Franken rightly calls the pint-sized bigot out for moving the goal posts on campaign collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, which is what Team Trump has done from the beginning. First, they were all, “Russians? What Russians?” Then, they said, “Okay, some operatives may have talked to Russians, but no one close to the campaign.” Next, it was, “Well, not every single surrogate talked to the Russians.” And finally, “How dayuh you impugn mah honah, suh?”

Good God, what a clown show.



Open Thread: Suite “Home” Alabama

That “unsure” 11% seems important. CNN:

Democrat Doug Jones — once thought to be a longshot in the Deep South — has tied Republican nominee and former judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s US Senate race, a new poll shows…

Moore and Jones will face off in a special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat December 12.

The poll confirms Republicans’ fears that Moore — who campaigns on a theocratic, anti-LGBT message and has twice been ousted as state Supreme Court chief justice, once for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument and once for refusing to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage — would be a uniquely vulnerable candidate in a state President Donald Trump won last year by 28 percentage points…

Jones, a former prosecutor who convicted two former Klansmen in the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, has sought to portray Moore as someone who would embarrass Alabama on the national stage…

Moore has a history of under performing compared to national Republican leaders in Alabama. In the 2012 race for state Supreme Court chief justice, he won by just 2 points over little-known circuit court judge Bob Vance in a year Mitt Romney won the state by 22 points…

Roy Moore’s Senate run is turning into the roadshow version of Trump’s campaign, and that was a farcical imitation of a real campaign…


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I’m gonna keep on loving you

Believe it or not, I do buy into the idea that it’s possible someday, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, the GOP Congress will turn on Trump. But I don’t think it’s likely, and the idea that once the tax cut giveaway to millionaires takes place, the GOP Congress will turn on Trump because they don’t need him anymore, well….that’s just stupid:

The reason the tax cut bill is a danger to Trump is that it’s the one last thing keeping the bulk of his own party in line behind him.

[…]

ith a tax bill behind them, the bigger the better, you will see more Republican members of Congress publicly denouncing the president, and showing far less patience for time-consuming fights with a celebrity sports figure who rubs Trump the wrong way or attacks on the president’s disfavored Republican of the moment. You won’t see leaders watching quietly as Trump encourages divisive primary challenges against incumbents. What you will likely see is real movement toward a well-funded alternative in 2020, should the president even make it that far. And if Mueller does show any evidence of malfeasance on the part of Trump or his team, don’t look for a crowd of Republicans to jump to the president’s defense.

Republicans in Congress are afraid of Trump’s brownshirts. They’re afraid of being primaried in particular, but it goes deeper than that. They don’t want Fox and Breitbart to go after them. I’m not making a value judgement here, just describing their mindset.

If the pee pee tape drops along with “Apprentice” tapes where Trump uses the n-word plus the economy tanks, then maybe the GOP Congress will turn on Trump. Until then, they won’t, and they’re even less likely to if Trump signs a bill giving their Galtian overlords trillions of dollars.








Bronze to Catastrophic Price Spreads

I believe that the Catastrophic coverage eligibility expansion in Alexander-Murray is a risk adjustment play. I want to estimate what the potential risk adjustment related pricing increment could be using 2017 Healthcare.gov public data.

My data is here. I used the Healthcare.gov PUF Landscape file to identify all counties with both a Bronze and Catastrophic plan. I used the pricing for a single 40 year old non-smoker. I took the least expensive on-Exchange Bronze and Catastrophic plan by county/state dyad and calculated the difference in premium (Bronze-Catastrophic). Positive numbers means Catastrophic has a lower premium than Bronze. I did not adjust for the actuarial value of Bronze (allowable range 58%-62% AV in 2017 and Catastrophic has an AV of 57.5%) so I may be biasing the premium spread to be higher than a true apples to apples comparison.

Bronze plans are part of the Metal risk adjustment process. A portion of Bronze premiums are sent to cover the expenses of Platinum, Gold and Silver buyers. Catastrophic plans are risk adjusted only against themselves. Catastrophic dollars within a state only need to cover Catastrophic buyers.

This leads to a pricing delta which can be significant.

There are a few things to note.

1) Not every state nor every county within a state has a Catastrophic plan
2) Not every county has a Bronze plan
3) Something strange is happening in Texas and Oklahoma as BCBS-Tx and BCBS-OK Catastrophic plans are often more expensive than BCBS Bronzes in the same county.
4) Most other county/state combinations where there is a Bronze plan less expensive than the least expensive Catastrophic plan is because one insurer offers the low price Bronze but does not offer a Catastrophic plan.

However, out of the 2,362 county-state combinations with a 2017 Bronze and Catastrophic plan on Healthcare.gov, 1,847 have a lower priced Catastrophic plan than Bronze plan. Of that 1,847 counties with a less expensive Catastrophic plan, 1,170 counties see the same insurer issue the least expensive Bronze and least expensive Catastrophic plan.

Within this subset of 1,170 counties, there is an average of $73 pricing spread between these plans in these counties. I am making the strong assumption that the catastrophic and Bronze plans are sharing the same network and the same underlying administrative expense models. Most of the delta is due to the lack of risk adjustment transfers from Catastrophic to the higher AV metal bands.

This is the play that is being made in Murray-Alexander.








Morning thoughts on Alexander-Murray

Caitlin Owens at Axios was able to get the text of Alexander-Murray and we’ll go through it. Analytically, the most critical thing in the bill is that the Copper/Catastrophic expansion is a risk adjustment play. Before we dive into the details, I want to make a couple of general points.

First, I still think that the relative balance of leverage could have made CSR payments a non-issue. Insurers (except in North Dakota) had been able to price the costs into their premiums and this would have led to much lower net of subsidy premiums for a lot of buyers. Secondly, this is a bill for 2019 not 2018. Finally it is nice to read a bill that actually grapples with health financing and health insurance.

Let’s get into this:
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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!

More tech issues, sorry Bill. I’ve got Thursday and Friday set, do don’t worry folks!

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Happy Diwali !


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Lights, sweets, firecrackers — what’s not to love about such a celebration?

Okay, maybe not quite so many fireworks, per NPR:

Once illuminated with clay lamps, the festival of lights has morphed into a festival of sound and fury.

It’s estimated some 50,000 tons of fireworks are exploded during Diwali, which marks the homecoming of the Hindu god Lord Ram from exile. But a public health alarm was sounded in Delhi after Diwali last year, when a toxic haze blanketed the city for days.

Delhi’s air quality is extremely poor: A 2015 study found that half of the city’s 4.4 million schoolchildren have diminished lung capacity.

To control the escalating pollution, the Supreme Court banned the sale of fireworks during this year’s Diwali. (The use of fireworks, though, was not banned.) The ban on sales extends until Nov. 1 to allow the court to fully monitor its impact in the wake of the festival…

Merchant Praveen Kumar complains that his livelihood is going up in smoke.

“It’s 100 percent correct that we are adding to pollution. But the government says it’s only three percent of the total — the other 97 percent isn’t addressed,” he says. “Besides, what do we tell the kids on Diwali: ‘Go pray, eat your food and go to bed?’ How will they enjoy that?”…

Given enough sweets, I think the kids’ll make their own fun. One way or another, folks will find a way:


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Apart from remembering to light some lights, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Is There Nothing Trump Can’t Make Worse?

Who says stuff like that? (An elderly spoilt man-child who’s always lived in his own bubble, that’s who.)

“Yes, he said it,” Wilson said. “It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it.”

The president called about 4:45 p.m. and spoke to Johnson’s pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson, for about five minutes. She is a mother to Johnson’s surviving 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. The conversation happened before Johnson’s remains arrived at Miami International Airport on a commercial Delta Airlines flight…

Wilson watched as the widow, who is expecting their third baby in January, leaned over the U.S. flag that was draping Johnson’s casket. Her pregnant belly was shaking against the casket as she sobbed uncontrollably. Their daughter stood next to her stoically. Their toddler waited in the arms of a relative.

There was silence.

Local politicians, police officers and firefighters lined up to honor Johnson for his service and for the efforts and discipline that got the former Walmart employee to defy all odds and become a 25-year-old member of the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Johnson, who participated in a mentorship program Wilson founded in 1993, died during a mission fighting alongside Green Berets. Islamic militants ambushed them on Oct. 4 with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. The team reportedly didn’t have overhead armed air cover and was in unarmored pickup trucks. Reuters reported the lack of planning upset the French…

Wilson criticized Trump for failing to acknowledge Johnson’s death after he was left behind during the evacuation. It took nearly two days to find his body in the Republic of Niger’s desert. Johnson’s body made it to the U.S. on Oct. 7 when Trump was playing golf with Sen. Lindsey Graham…

From the Sargeant’s local paper, the Miami Herald:

Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, the soldier and father who was killed in Niger, returned home Tuesday afternoon.

The fallen American soldier who wore the name of his wife and mother of his two children, Myeshia Johnson, tattooed across his chest under his U.S. Army uniform, was saluted with a ceremonial homecoming at Miami International Airport.

His family, including his widow, along with dignitaries and law enforcement officers, saluted Johnson as his casket, draped in the American flag, wheeled out of a Delta Airlines plane en route to Fred Hunter’s Funeral Home in Hollywood.
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Twitter Games

This has been fun.








Sportsball Open Thread: There Is Power In A Union?

I am given to understand that Roger Goodell is an aggregation of marketing slogans made flesh and slapped in a jacket, but it seems that the players still have some pushback here:

The NFL did not seek commitments from its players to stop kneeling during pregame renditions of the U.S. national anthem but rather focused on helping them in their political activism.

“We spent today talking about the issues that our players have been trying to bring attention to. About issues in our communities to make our communities better,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters.

Trump’s repeated denunciation of the players as unpatriotic for kneeling during the national anthem, which he reiterated as recently as Monday, has only made the practice more widespread…

The small but growing number of players who have taken to kneeling during the national anthem are protesting the killing by police of unarmed black men and boys across the United States, as well as racial disparities in the criminal justice system. More than half of all NFL players are black.

Goodell appeared less interested in stifling the silent protests, despite Trump’s wishes, and instead praised players’ character, saying he wanted to help their political activism.

“Today’s discussion with our players was very productive and very important. It reflected our commitment to work together with our players on issues of social justice,” said Goodell…

Along those lines, team owners and 13 players had a “productive meeting” of their own earlier on Tuesday at the league offices about how to collaborate on positive social change and addressing inequality, according to a statement by the NFL and the players’ union, the NFL Players Association…

Malcolm Jenkins, a player for the Philadelphia Eagles, told reporters that the two sides discussed how to amplify players’ voices and make what he called “long, sustainable changes.”

“We all have mutual interests. … We want to make sure that the quality of product that we put out on the field is great, but at the same time we have a responsibility to the communities that we live in and the communities that we come from,” Jenkins said…

Players and their union have bristled at Trump’s assertion they are unpatriotic. Though still a minority, more players have begun kneeling since the new football season began, and some sympathetic teammates have linked arms with the kneelers while standing themselves…

The NYTimes:

The league’s rule book never required players to stand for the anthem but says they must be on the sideline during the song and “should” stand for it.

The ambiguity in the rule has made it difficult for the league to fine players who have either sat or knelt for the anthem, and the owners had discussed clarifying the wording to make standing for the anthem mandatory.

By leaving the rule alone, the league has chosen to avoid more internal strife with its players and to potentially weather more criticism from fans and President Trump, who has repeatedly ridiculed the league for not firing players who demonstrate during the anthem.

“We need to be above petty attacks from anybody, because racial and socioeconomic inequality has existed in this country for too long,” Jed York, the chief executive and co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers, said when asked about the president’s criticism of the league. “You got to block out the noise and go do your job, and that’s what we need to focus on.”…

We fully understand that nobody’s gonna pay NFL dollars to watch a bunch of Trump interns in full gear attempt not to injure themselves running around the field every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday evening, Mr. I-Killed-Arena-Football.

…Jenkins said there had been no discussion during the meeting about prohibiting players from kneeling during the national anthem; whether players continue to do so, he said, would be an individual decision.

He also said that Kaepernick had been invited to the meeting but chose not to attend. Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, later said it was possible that Kaepernick would attend future meetings…

The league also continues to grapple with Kaepernick, who filed a grievance accusing the owners of colluding to keep him from joining a team. Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, has remained unsigned since leaving the team in March.

What say the sports fans?



Who Dis? (Open Thread)

Name this actor and the 1970s horror film in which he stars below:

God lord, that movie is a giant slab of Velveeta. No more hints! Open thread!