Open thread

Forgot to post this yesterday.

Not a labor-related question, but I noticed that the “why is the campaign so long” columns are already beginning. Got me thinking: what is the single most annoying topic for pundit columns? Getting rid of the penny? Stuff a taxi driver told me? The Stanford marshmallow experiment? Anything by or having to do with Chris Hitchens? Feel free to suggest your own.



I’m not outraged about Colin Kaepernik

I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff on Twitter and Facebook about how Colin Kaepernik insulted Veterans with his refusal to stand for the National Anthem.

I personally am not offended by Kaepernik’s actions. I wish he’d chosen a different method, but only because the substance of his protest, the glaring racial iniquities of policing and the legal system, have been ignored while the outrage machine over his refusal to stand for the anthem has burned up all the oxygen. I honestly had no idea who the guy was before this week. Those glaring racial iniquities of policing and the legal system? That’s the real outrage here, or it should be if you buy into the idea that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Speaking for myself, I for one am real Goddamned tired of people appointing themselves to be outraged on my my behalf.

I joined the army for a lot of reasons, patriotism being one of them, but patriotism had little if anything to do with my decisions to re-enlist over and over again. Every place I ever fought, I fought FOR my brothers, the guys to my left and right. If politics entered into it at all, it was because we fought against people who would string up the Colin Kaeperniks of the world for being a racial minority, or for not toeing some religious or political line. So there was always some knowledge and understanding that on some level there was a difference between us, or what we still aspire to but haven’t yet become, and them.

But mostly it was for my brothers. And a paycheck.



A thousand and one posts

Wow, that last post was my 1,000th post here at Balloon Juice. I was not expecting that when I first got started here.

I’ve been a Balloon Juice reader and primarily a lurker since before the Cole Conversion time. Over the summer of 2013, I saw a lot of good questions about the ACA and how it would effect our community. I got in touch with a front-pager I know in real life and asked if I could write a couple of posts to answer a couple of questions. He e-mailed John and John gave me the keys to this place. I figured that I would twenty to thirty thousand words in forty or fifty posts and then I would be done.

Over the past three years, I have eight hundred or more health insurance posts with about half a million words written.

That was a slight miscalculation.

I’ve rediscovered how much I like to write about a subject that I like. Every day I get to answer a question, explore something that I heard something about but now need to explain, or advocate for a slightly better world with tweaks to the current policy universe. I’ve been able to point people in the right direction when they are getting screwed over. We’ve been able to go through complicated choice structures to get community members taken care of when they know they need to do something but do not know what they have to do.

At the same time, my education has deepened as the community here and a second community of wonks, advocates and researchers. If I need to know about anti-trust law, I have a couple of world class experts who share their time with me. If I need to know more about Medicare, I can talk to people who are on it, I can talk with CMS techno-wonks, and national level advocates. If I need to learn more accounting, there are plenty of people who will share their knowledge and expertise with me.

I never thought I would have written here for more than a couple of months. But between all of you, the community and John’s amazing ability to let things flow, I am more energized than I ever thought I would be a thousand posts ago.



Out of the past

One of my all-time favorite Balloon Juice threads was this one, especially this comment. The picture of the kid it’s about is gone but I found it again on the internet. DennisLennox

There are many who say that this is not the most important issue in the world, but what’s up with wing nut “media” types wearing multiple shirts? Here’s new Trump campaign manager Stephen Bannon.download



Cole, interaction factors and risk adjustment

We love Cole.

We loved and winced at the stories of faceplants and broken bones from naked mapping, sidewalk walking, dog walking, cat assaination attempts and any number of other things.  We love that Cole is making a good and honest go at the entire adulting thing.  It’s been a while since we’ve heard a classic Cole injury story.  The worst that has happened was the car in the cow field and that was not even his fault. Damn it Cole, I drafted this as the kids were getting ready for bed and you have to fall through the floor….

In last night’s post  John makes a very smart observation about his proclivity to self-injury:

This is more excitement in one day than I usually have in six months barring personal injuries, which, I’ve noticed, come less frequently now that I am sober.

This makes sense.  Alcohol does two things that leads to injuries.  It massively distorts our judgement and risk assessment ability and it wrecks our coordination.  Dumb ideas seem smart and simple physical feats become Olympian Gold medal floor routines with high degrees of difficulty after too many.

So how the hell am I going to tie this into health insurance and health economics?  Easy — this is a great launching point for a discussion on interaction factors for risk adjustment as well as the tail chasing nature of risk score maximization.

Read more



Timothy, Timothy, where on earth did you go?

I thought people might like to discuss this aspect of the GOP convention:

From sports there is Mr. Tebow,

Update. Sorry to bigfoot Tim F, but this was too important to wait.








There is no future in England’s dreaming

David Cameron is a stupid man, and his stupid decision to allow the Brexit referendum is what caused the garbage fire du jour. He also had the decency to campaign against the Brexit and to resign when Brexit won.

There’s more to it than that. Sure, if he’d managed his own economy better, and if Merkel et al. had managed the EU economy better, Brexit might not won. But there’s not that much more to it than that. He didn’t have to have this referendum. As anyone who’s ever followed California at all can tell you, plebiscites are a bad idea.

People suck. But they do respond to incentives. Megan McArdle can wax poetic about the dignity of her outlet buddies in Luton all she wants, but they made a bad decision. One that will hurt them a little economically but that doesn’t mean their ass. It does mean David Cameron’s ass, and good for him for surrendering it. But he fucked up, and that’s what this is all about. I realize there’s too many falafel shops in Warwick and blah blah blah.

Governing is hard. Let’s go blog about 2x4s.