Why I Hate The NY Times, Part [n]*

This paragraph:

There is most likely a middle way. Republican lawmakers might be comfortable with a system that shifts more of the costs of care onto people who are sick, if it makes the average insurance plan less costly for the healthy. But making those choices would mean engaging in very real trade-offs, less simple than their talking point.

“Republican lawmakers might be comfortable…”  Think of the assuptions not in evidence required to write that phrase.  Think also of the cluelessness in what comes next:  those who buy insurance are seen here in the Republican frame, as two binary populations, the healthy and the sick.

That would be  the “virtuous”  healthy paid less than the molly-coddled, feckless sick.  That the same people might occupy both identities at different points of their lives seems not to have occured to this Times writer, Margot Sanger-Katz — whom I’ve noted before has an odd willingness to couch her Upshot explainers in weighted and coded language.

As seems to be hers and several Times-folk’s penchant, much of the story from which I extracted above is perfectly fine, an actual explainer of what Essential Health Benefits do and why they’re important. She even notes that in a system without a required benefit package–

…the meaning of “health insurance” can start to become a little murky.

Well, yeah, as it doesn’t actually insure against unanticipated risks.  I’d take issue with the meekness of her critique here, that is, but at least she suggests to the fragile sensibilities of her tender readers that perhaps a minor problem might result here.

Which makes the passage I quoted up top both weird and revealing: cheap insurance for the healthy and soak-the-sick policies for those with the misfortune to suffer the ails that impinge on just about every human being, sometime or other is a pretty damn good example of a murky notion of health insurance.

That is: the habit of mind, the reflexive and seemingly unconscious acceptance of a right wing tropes that lead both to conclusions unsupported by the evidence and an inability to grasp what one has actually just said.  This happens a lot at The New York Times. Happened a lot there too, over the crucial months of 2016.  Which goes a long way, IMHO, to accounting for the predicament we’re in now.

*Where [n] is an arbitrarily large number.x

Image:  Codex Aureus Epternacensis, Christ Cleansing Ten Lepers, c. 1035-1040.

Newsworthy Items That Have Slipped Through the Cracks: We’re Doomed

I don’t mean to panic anyone, but the US breached the debt ceiling on March 16th and the current extension on the Fiscal Year 2017 continuing budget resolution runs out on April 28th. Given the dysfunction within the majority caucuses in the House and the Senate, the fact that the new Administration’s skinny budget has been declared DOA upon its arrival in Congress, and the fact that NO ONE ANYWHERE – INCLUDING THE WHITE HOUSE, CONGRESS, MOST OF THE NEWS MEDIA, AND APPARENTLY MOST AMERICANS!!!!!!! – seems to be paying any attention or talking about this, perhaps we should be just a wee bit concerned.

Have a nice evening!

What about Bob?

Bob Woodward has become a full-on Trump stooge:

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward warned on Wednesday that there are people from the Obama administration who could be facing criminal charges for unmasking the names of Trump transition team members from surveillance of foreign officials.


“But the idea that there was intelligence value here is really thin,” Woodward said. “It’s, again, down the middle, it is not what Trump said, but this could be criminal on the part of people who decided, oh, let’s name these people.”

(He said all of this on O’Reilly)

And here he is being called out by Mika Brzezinski of all people:

Brzezinski asked him to clarify his suggestion that Obama might have wiretapped Trump Tower due to the large number of visitors.

“It almost seems fantastical,” she said. “I understand you want to have an open mind, but what’s your advice on covering this in the days and weeks to come? Let it go, because the president won’t let it go?”

Woodward said reporters should continue to cover the president’s backpedaling, which he said was just “part of the dance” that “just goes on forever and ever.”

“Wiretapping the president meant surveillance — okay,” Woodward said, as Brzezinski cocked her head in bafflement. “Hypothetically, suppose you are the Russians and you want to find out what’s going on in Trump Tower. You’ve got all these people coming in, as you’ve said. I think it would have been possible for anyone to monitor who these people were, what was going on.”

Brzezinski cringed before finally cutting him off.

Gun Idiot Of The Day: Sean Hannity Edition

If you are into shooting sports, hunting, carry a firearm for professional reasons, and/or have one for self defense: DO NOT DO THIS!!!!

I would like to take a moment and, in the name of Colonel Jeff Cooper, highlight this part of CNN’s reporting (emphasis mine):

Sean Hannity has been trained in firearm safety since he was 11 years old and has a license to carry a gun in five states, including New York,” Fox News said in a statement to CNNMoney. “The situation was thoroughly investigated and it was found that no one was put in any danger.” (The spokesperson said the incident took place in October 2016.)

I just checked, but our resident legal eagles should feel free to check in and correct me, but NY State does not have a brandishing statute. Instead it is covered under menacing.

New York Penal Law § 120.14 Menacing in the second degree

A person is guilty of menacing in the second degree when:

1. He or she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm;  or

2. He or she repeatedly follows a person or engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts over a period of time intentionally placing or attempting to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death;  or

3. He or she commits the crime of menacing in the third degree in violation of that part of a duly served order of protection, or such order which the defendant has actual knowledge of because he or she was present in court when such order was issued, pursuant to article eight of the family court act, section 530.12 of the criminal procedure law, or an order of protection issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in another state, territorial or tribal jurisdiction, which directed the respondent or defendant to stay away from the person or persons on whose behalf the order was issued.

Menacing in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

What Hannity did is one of the stupidest, most irresponsible, and down right dangerous things you can do with a firearm. There is a reason that to intentionally draw and aim a firearm at someone outside of an actual self defense situation/defensive use is a crime of some type in every jurisdiction in the US. It is to keep utter, absolute, complete morons like Sean Hannity from doing something this stupid and being so utterly dumb as to think it was a joke.

This is not an anti-gun issue, this is an anti-stupidity issue! There is a reason that every firearms instructor I know, and have heard of, will not let new students even touch a firearm until they learn Colonel Cooper’s four rules:

Rule One: All guns are always loaded.
Rule Two: Never let the muzzle cover anything which you are not willing to destroy.
Rule Three: Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
Rule Four: Always be sure of your target.

Here’s an instructor at the firearms academy founded by Colonel Cooper explaining firearm safety:

Sean Hannity is an idiot. He committed a crime. That crime has now been made public. He needs to be prosecuted to the fully extent of the law. Moreover, getting a conceal carry permit for New York City is almost impossible for anyone who is not well connected. It is not just may issue, it is very, very selectively may issue. Hannity’s careless actions towards Williams demonstrates that he does not deserve the special consideration that it takes to get a conceal carry permit for NY City.

Set Your DVRs: News Is Supposedly Going To Be Broken

May want to pop some popcorn too!

And we leave the last word to the drunk at the end of the bar er, um, noted, local crazy person er, um, official mouthpiece for state propaganda outlet er, um pundit and talk show host:

Open thread!

Late Evening/Early Morning Open Thread: Always Lock the Door!

Today the BBC introduced everyone to two new stars, Professor Kelly’s children.


Friday Morning Open Thread: At Least It Is Friday…

… and hopefully most of the GOP liars will take the weekend off, even if the President-Asterisk down in his Mar-A-Largo dacha gets his tiny little hands on the Twitter-enabled phone again…

What’s on the agenda as we (try to) wrap up the week?