Open Thread: Theme of the Day

Speaking of winsome beasts that hunger after garbage, apparently Scott ‘Cosmo Centerfold’ Brown has given up on finding a state from where he might dogwhistle his way back into the Senate…

The Boston Globe reports:

Brown, who was previously considered for the veterans affairs Cabinet post, has told associates that he believes he will get the nod for Wellington, one of the people familiar with the discussions told the Globe.

The White House declined to comment Friday, and Brown did not respond to several requests for comment…

After losing the 2012 Massachusetts Senate race to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, Brown moved to New Hampshire and unsuccessfully challenged Democratic US Senator Jeanne Shaheen two years later.

During the presidential primary, Brown threw “no-BS backyard barbecues” for GOP contenders, fashioning for himself a role as something of a power broker. He hosted Trump at a Financial District fund-raiser in June, after Trump had all but secured the nomination.

Brown endorsed Trump at a pivotal juncture in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries, after Trump had lost the Iowa caucuses to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and just before the New Hampshire primary…

In a 2015 interview with GQ about his passion for cycling, Brown said, “I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand or Scotland or Wales and just ride 100 miles, hit a pub, drink, eat, sleep, do some exploring, and then get up, ride another 100 miles, do that for a couple weeks.”

Hard cheese, New Zealanders, but us Massholes would be just as glad to wave ‘Scoff’ and his bicycle off to your side of the globe. If he gets on your nerves, tell him it’s considered a feat of strength to wrestle rams into submission. Or that Maori find it hilarious when white people make fun of the haka, just like Native Americans enjoy ‘Pocahontas’ jokes.

Feeling better after the RSC weighed in

The House Freedom Caucus (HFC) is the reactionary Republican sub-caucus. It easily controls the marginal vote to get a party-line majority so it controls the most likely route to 218 in the House on any ACA repeal bill. And last night they came out with the second most important piece of news for the day (the National Security Advisor resigning as he had been compromised by the Russians is, of course, the most important)

From Politico:

The House Freedom Caucus and a number of Republican Study Committee members this week will urge Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his lieutenants to forego their plan to add replacement provisions to a repeal bill, dubbed “repeal-plus.” Instead, they want to approve the same standalone repeal bill that Congress sent to President Barack Obama in 2016.

The major elements of that bill would shut down the exchanges and subsidies after a short transition, shut down Medicaid Expansion and defund Planned Parenthood.

I’m moving my pessimism index from 80% to 70%. I’m also moving my Cassidy-Collins as a plausible skeleton index from 15% to 25%.

Why is this important?

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Burning time

We’re 24 days into the Trump Error. And there has been little legislative activity. As of the morning of the 13th, there have been two bills that he has signed. The first was a bill that waived requirements for his Secretary of Defense nominee to be the Secretary of Defense. The second is a two page technical correction bill for the Government Accountability Office to get more data. That sounds like a perfectly lovely law on the face of it but it is not a major bill.

Why does this matter?

The first 100 days is the easiest time for legislation to pass and for major structural changes to get pulled in the desired direction of a determined trifecta. After 100 days, the opposition will have gotten its act together and the mid-term election cycle has gotten started so marginal majority members won’t want to piss off too many potential groups of supporters by making choices.

The Democrats in 2009 had both a not damaged President and larger majorities in the House and Senate and they were able to address major priorities in the first month while working on Dodd-Frank and healthcare at the same time. This Congress has not been able to get anything more than a minor technical corrections act out. And given that healthcare reform is going to suck out a bit of oxygen in the room for quite a long time as Republican health policy (don’t spend any money on the sick) is quite unpopular and is running against the status quo bias of a flawed but helpful system that does spend money on the sick, things are moving slower than I feared.

We need to continue to organize, and continue to make it very clear that supporting Trump will come at a massive electoral cost for the Republican party so that we can continue to see the survival and infighting instincts slow walk everything possible. And we need to continue to applaud the Democratic Senate caucus for slow walking everything that they can not stop.

Pictures from today’s march in Raleigh

I’m not normally a marching purpose. I’ll cut turf, I’ll optimize a data set, I’ll make phone calls but I don’t march. Well today, I marched. And I had a blast. I ended up walking with the ACLU contingent as they seemed to be a great group and met up with some people I’ve recent met in the Triangle for a burger and a beer afterwards as well as a plan to help build infrastructure so I can get back to cutting turf and optimizing data sets. One of the things I liked is that there were organizers and voter registration folks going throughout the crowd getting information. I switched my registration from Pennsylvania to North Carolina this morning and got hit for contact information at least five times.

Here are some pictures from me and other Balloon Juicers.

If you have any more, please send them to me at via the Contact an Author widget in the top right hand corner.


And here are a few from AMinNC:

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Moral March tomorrow

The Moral March in Raleigh is tomorrow. The rally and gathering starts at 8:30 and the march itself goes off at 10:00 AM.

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Gather across the street from the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2 East South St. Raleigh, NC
Gather and Rally at 8:30 a.m. | March begins at 10 a.m.

The Moral March on Raleigh is part of a love and justice movement. We fight for an intersectional agenda to support public education, economic sustainability, workers’ rights and livable wages, health care For all, medicaid expansion, environmental justice, equal protection under the law without regard to race, immigration status, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, voting rights for all, and criminal justice.

On February 11, 2017, we will gather at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Raleigh. The opening rally will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the march will begin at 10:00 a.m. after which we will begin the mass People’s Assembly on the doorstep of the State Capitol.

This year, the Moral March on Raleigh will focus on our moral duty to stand against the repeal of the life-saving Affordable Care Act, the legislative tyranny of our extremist-led General Assembly, the racist and unconstitutional gerrymandering which undermines the vote of all North Carolinians, the anti-family, anti-worker, and anti-LGBTQ hate bill 2, and the extremism and lies of Trumpism, which undermine our Democracy at the federal, state and local level. Donald Trump and his administration have undermined our Democracy and democratic institutions by making regressive federal appointments and inviting white nationalists into the White House. They have demonized our immigrant and Muslim brothers and sisters by building a wall on our Mexican border, pushing through an Executive Order which effectively bans many refugees and Muslims from our country, and blaming Latinos for voter fraud that does not exist.

I’ll be there as these are the people and allies who know how to get shit done. I need to hook into their organizing efforts. It will be fun and it will be needed.

Any other Juicers going?

This Is Where We Are 2-7-17

So I just got off the phone with my mom and she shared some disturbing news. Especially so for me as the son of an immigrant, a Green Card holder until his death.

My former sister-in-law returned in the last couple of days from a family funeral in Peru. She’s an American, with passport, but originally from Peru. When her plane arrived at SFO, there were armed immigration/customs agents on the boarding ramp, right outside the plane’s door.

Every person exiting the plane was asked for their papers and scrutinized. This was a normal international flight, not from the countries of current trumpian concern. The next day, her friends told her that all international flights are being greeted thusly.

I’ve been traveling since I was two weeks old. I’m a dual national, but my US issued birth certificate shows I was born in Africa to an American woman and a Swiss man. This country has ALWAYS been the land of the free and customs and immigration folks are in their booths, lanes, aisles, etc. Not intimidating folks getting off the plane.

It’s beginning my friends. A moat is being created around us, between us and the rest of the world.

4.29% enrollment loss is the cost of Trump’s First Day EO

I’ve been playing a bit more with the 2016 and 2017 QHP data in an attempt to figure out the incremental cost of the Trump Executive order.  I think 4.25% is a good lower estimate.

My data is still here:

Data and Methods

I again excluded Kentucky and Louisiana.  Kentucky was switching from Kynect to while Louisiana had a mid-year Medicaid expansion.  I wanted to isolate the effect of the executive order from whatever the general trend in enrollment was.  I used the CMS enrollment snapshot for 2016 and 2017 that contained January 14th.  2016 was goes through January 16 while 2017 only goes through January 14th.  The 2016 report contains two extra days worth of data and more importantly, 2016 contains a deadline day as people who buy coverage by the 15th would see their policy start on February 1st.  We know deadlines spur enrollment.

CMS recognized this problem:

More than 8.8 million Americans were signed up for 2017 coverage through as of January 14, 2017. This compares to about 8.7 million sign-ups as of January 14 last year, as Americans continue to demonstrate strong demand for 2017 Marketplace coverage.

So on the 14th of each year, 2017 was running slightly ahead of 2016.  My data due to timing constraints will show 2016 running slightly ahead of 2017.   This is fine as the known flaw in the data favors the argument that the executive order had no impact.

So the question is what was the deviation from 1/15 to 1/31? If the Executive Order and the dropping of advertising and potentially elite knowledge networks disseminating anti-enrollment messaging or more likely fear, uncertainty and doubt about PPACA being a good play?

Analysis and Conclusion

2017 using my known flawed data was running .96% behind 2016 on the January 14th inclusive update.  2017 ended up running 5.25% behind 2016 on states.  The increment (using favorable to the null hypothesis data) slowdown in pace that can be attributed to Trump Administration actions is 5.25-.96 or 4.29% of enrollment was lost due to the executive order and other Trump administration actions such as shutting down some outreach and advertising in the last eleven days of enrollment.

4.29% is a minimal level of enrollment loss.  Using the January 14th pace, 2017 was running 1.1% ahead of 2016.  Charles Gaba is collecting data from the state based exchanges.  The state based exchanges ran their own marketing campaigns that did not get shut off on 1/20/17.  He is showing at least a 1.5% enrollment increase.  So more aggressive baselines can credibly argue that the Trump Administration actively discouraged 6% of the market from signing up.

Finally, here are some charts that I had fun creating as I worked through this problem.