Late-Night “You Really HOPE This Was Staged” Open Thread

Okay, it’s nut-picking. But one begins to suspect there’s some pattern as to why potential Trump voters haven’t been susceptible to arguments from logic…

I mean, I know the scientific reason why my little dogs want to eat turds, but there’s no way I can look at the cat box and think to myself, now there is a tempting snack display. When I look at Donald Trump, I cannot imagine what it feels like to think yeah, this is a guy who belongs in the Oval Office.

APTC Hacks – buggering the competitors

On the whole I want as many insurers and states to engage in a Silver Gap strategies.  However there are situations where it can be used offensively to bugger and beggar competitors.  Let’s walk though an example.

The scenario needs one insurer that actually wants to cover people in a county.  It also needs an insurer that for political/strategic/publicity reasons wants to be on Exchange while selling as few policies as possible.  I can think of at least one situation where that is an accurate assessment of the pricing configuration.  The way that a company stays on Exchange but does not sell many policies is to offer a plan design that meets minimum requirements but is a horrendous value proposition while being priced very high compared to its competing plans.

Silver Spamming strategies by the active insurer enable this sit out and wait strategy by the passive/avoiding insurer.  Mild Silver Gapping strategies where the active carrier offers a low price narrow network Silver and then a broader network plan priced 12% higher as the benchmark Silver when the passive Silver is priced 80% above the benchmark will also allow for a passive presence with low enrollment.

However if the active carrier decides that it wants to screw its competitor it can by embracing an extreme Silver Gap strategy.  It would offer its low cost narrow network plan only.  All of the sudden, the passive carrier’s Silver is now the #2 Benchmark Silver.  The #1 Silver by the active carrier has extremely low post-premium prices so it will suck in all of the healthy risk in the market.  The plan that was supposed to be a placeholder gets significant membership that the offering carrier was not anticipating and it is higher risk membership.

So in odd corner cases like this, the Silver Gap strategy can be deployed offensively.

Saturday Afternoon Open Thread: ‘But Our Horse Race!…

We need to GOTV and run up Clinton’s totals, because the hierophants of the Conventional Wisdom are pushing as hard as the Republicans for a Donald Trump win.

Possibly harder, given how dispirited Reince & Ryan seem at the moment.

What’s on the agenda for the afternoon?

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread

If Trump doesn’t lose, and resoundingly, we won’t be able to say he didn’t warn us exactly what to expect.

Phillip Bump, in the Washington Post, “After dismissing intelligence experts, Donald Trump heads in for his classified briefing”:

… In an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday, Trump expressed skepticism of his own: about prominent members of the intelligence community. Asked if he “trusted intelligence,” Trump replied, “Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country.”

“I mean, look what’s happened over the last 10 years,” he said, referring to the war in Iraq. “Look what’s happened over the years. I mean, it’s been catastrophic. In fact, I won’t use some of the people that are standards — you know, just use them, use them, use them, very easy to use them, but I won’t use them because they’ve made such bad decisions.”

This is probably mostly a reference to a letter released earlier this month in which 50 members of the Republican national security establishment warned of a Trump presidency. Many of them were involved in the decision-making process before the Iraq War…

Politico, “Trump makes intel community queasy”:

… Asked about Trump’s criticisms, the CIA deferred comment to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which in turn declined to comment. Such reticence is in line with the agencies’ traditional mandate to stay out of the political realm. And in many ways, most people in the intelligence community’s rank and file will follow that mandate no matter what happens in the campaign or on Election Day, analysts said.

“It’s probably, within the agency, extremely apolitical,” said Soufan Group analyst Patrick Skinner of the CIA, where he used to be a case officer. “You really just don’t talk about it.”

Skinner, added, however, that people at senior levels in the agencies “might be wondering about priorities.” He and others also said a Trump win in November won’t necessarily repel future recruits nor lead to mass retirements, at least not immediately.

“If there is a President Trump — that’s kind of a funny sentence to say — then there will probably be a lot of hope that the directors — all the top appointees — would be very diligent in their duties,” Skinner said. “There has to be some kind of faith that the system works, but he’s running on a no-faith-in-the-system campaign.”…

Within the broader intelligence industry — which includes companies that produce the technology and weaponry used by the various agencies — people are “incredulous,” according to a consultant with extensive contacts in that field. “People can hardly believe that it’s happening.”

“What people like is predictable outcomes,” the consultant said, pointing to Trump’s mercurial policy shifts as especially problematic for an industry that craves certainty. That being said, he added, “If the public indicates or seems to show that they’re going to vote for Trump, I would think that businessmen would revert to their typical behavior and figure out how they can get their share.”…

Late Evening/Early Morning Open Thread: The Sky is Falling

Perseid meteor shower live feed!

Late Night “But Seriously” Open Thread: Donald Trump Is ONLY JOKING, Everybody!

Jason P. Steed is getting some deserved attention for his series of tweets on Trump’s “Second Amendment remedies” *joke*. Excerpts here, stripped, for those of you whose refined sensibilities can’t deal with Twitter:

… 4. Which is to say, humor is a way we construct identity – who we are in relation to others. We use humor to form groups…
5. …and to find our individual place in or out of those groups. In short, joking/humor is one tool by which we assimilate or alienate.
6. IOW, we use humor to bring people into – or keep them out of – our social groups. This is what humor *does.* What it’s for.
9. This is why, e.g., racist “jokes” are bad. Not just because they serve to alienate certain people, but also because…
10. …they serve to assimilate the idea of racism (the idea of alienating people based on their race). And so we come to Trump.
11. A racist joke sends a message to the in-group that racism is acceptable. (If you don’t find it acceptable, you’re in the out-group.)
12. The racist joke teller might say “just joking” – but this is a *defense* to the out-group. He doesn’t have to say this to the in-group.
13. This is why we’re never “just joking.” To the in-group, no defense of the joke is needed; the idea conveyed is accepted/acceptable.
14. So, when Trump jokes about assassination or armed revolt, he’s asking the in-group to assimilate/accept that idea. That’s what jokes do.
15. And when he says “just joking,” that’s a defense offered to the out-group who was never meant to assimilate the idea in the first place.
22. But I think it’s pretty clear Trump was not engaging in some complex satirical form of humor. He was “just joking.” In the worst sense.
23. Bottom line: don’t accept “just joking” as excuse for what Trump said today. The in-group for that joke should be tiny. Like his hands.

Vox‘s Zack Beauchamp posts the whole tweetstream, adding:

This is a broader problem with Trump’s candidacy. Even if he never makes it into the White House, it’s not clear how much damage his penchant for shattering norms against explicit racism and calls for violence is doing to American politics…



An interesting study suggests that reading Harry Potter increases the probability and intensity of anti-Trump political sentiment:

Mutz polled a nationally representative sample of 1,142 Americans in 2014, and again in 2016, asking about their Harry Potter consumption, their attitudes on issues such as waterboarding, the death penalty, the treatment of Muslims and gays, and (in 2016 only) their feelings about Donald Trump on a 0-100 scale.

Party affiliation did not affect the likelihood that a person had read the Harry Potter books, the study found; Democrats, Republicans, and Independents have all read Rowling’s books in roughly equal numbers.

The study found that each Harry Potter book read lowered respondents’ evaluations of Donald Trump by roughly 2-3 points on a 100 point scale.

“This may seem small,” Mutz acknowledges, “but for someone who has read all seven books, the total impact could lower their estimation of Trump by 18 points out of 100. The size of this effect is on par with the impact of party identification on attitudes toward gays and Muslims.”

Time to read the third chapter of The Sorcerer’s Stone to my kids as inoculation against future fascism or at least one hell of a great world to play in at all ages.

Open thread