A question for Doug J

Yesterday, Politico highlighted my post on the distributional impacts of expanding actuarial bands. I like that piece a lot. It gets into the weeds very quickly on a relevant policy discussion and illuminates some of the trade-offs and quirks of the structure.

Politico highlights a couple of writers a day. These links and names get blasted to their morning e-mail list which is heavily DC focused with political and policy implementation power as well as narrative setting power.

From yesterday’s list everyone except for the Weekly Standard is a good factual value. I learn something from those other writers when I read them.

So my question to Doug is does this engagement make sense? Is it better for people with very high leverage and influence to read me layout complex policy options with my set of priors or to read someone who is either not aware of the distributional consequences of this policy change or whose value structure and/or paycheck renders those considerations irrelevant?

If we’re going to have a system of fairly tightly clustered policy and political professionals we will have narrowly tailored publications that sets the minimum standard of being well enough informed with background knowledge of major events for that cluster. I think we will always have specific political/policy niche publications as every other tight cluster has their own publication (Cat Fanciers Daily, FantasyFootball has an entire industry of rapid update publications, Transportation planners have their own publications, marketing professionals have multiple publication channels that cater to their need. ) So in my opinion, engagement is better than passive rejection even as engagement comes from an almost top-10,000 political blog with lots of puppy pictures.  Politico and Axios both have policy dissemination channels which are solid and highly influential.  Liberal engagement in that channel adds value to the conversation and slightly shifts it in our direction.

I want to hear your opinion on this.

 

 



What’s All That Wet Stuff In My Eyes?

I just watched this, and I can’t quite explain why my vision went all damp and blurry for a moment there:

This one rings across so many of the changes being played right now.  I won’t rabbit on about them; I think the film speaks for itself far better than any commentary could.

But I will say that it made me feel moved, sad, redeemed, and reminded of what’s worth fighting for in the here and now.

And with that…over to y’all.



A prayer for those who could not finish their prayers

From the address given by Imam Hassan Guillet at the funeral for 3 of the Quebec City mosque victims, Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou, Azzeddine Soufiane:

The society that could not protect them, the society that could not benefit from their generosity still has a chance. The hands that didn’t shake the hands of Khaled or Aboubaker or Abdelkrim or Azzedine or Mamadou or Ibrahima, that society can shake the hands of their kids.

We have 17 orphans. We have six widows. We have five wounded.

We ask Allah for them to get them out of the hospital as soon as possible.

Did I go through the complete list of victims? No.

There is one victim. None of us want talk about him.

But given my age, I have the courage to say it. This victim, his name is Alexandre Bissonnette.

Alexandre, before being a killer he was a victim himself. Before planting his bullets in the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas more dangerous than the bullets in his head.

This little kid didn’t wake up in the morning and say ‘Hey guys instead of going to have a picnic or watching the Canadiens, I will go kill some people in the mosque.’ It doesn’t happen that way.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, certain politicians unfortunately, and certain reporters unfortunately, and certain media were poisoning our atmosphere.

We did not want to see it. We didn’t want to see it because we love this country, we love this society. We wanted our to society to be perfect. We were like parents, their kids [are] smoking or taking drugs and your neighbour says that your kid was taking drugs, I don’t believe it, my son is perfect.

We don’t want to see it. And we didn’t see it, and it happened.

[ETA Gandhi’s favorite bhajan. It describes who can be called a Vaishnav Jan
or God’s person. Written in Gujarati by Narshi Mehta in the 15th century. Via commenter schrodingers_cat]








You love me, you really love me

Via Comments by Humboldt Blue:

I’m not sure what you motherfuckers are rambling about but I followed some advice from the front page health care guy who types out dense and incomprehensible phalanxes of text and double checked my policies today with covered California. Saved my stupid ass more than a hundred dollars per month with a far better and comprehensive option. Remember, you smug bastards, it aint easy going through life as a dumbfuck and some of us take longer to catch on.

Sure, that shit may be meaningless by summer, but at least Mr. Mind-numbing Actuarial tables got through to someone.

You love me, you really love me!!!

Really, I can’t tell you how much this means to me. Little wins are what I aim for. I needed this … so thank you.



Open Thread: The Weight of History

While we’re on the topic of ugly history… CAN’T SAY YOU WEREN’T WARNED, REPUBS…



There’s no action

RedDirtGirl just sent me a message about doing an NYC meet-up in February. Here’s what she sent me:

RedDirtGirl here, following up from our exchange before the New Year, soon after the election.
I am still interested in instigating a metro-area Take Action Gathering. I have a germ of an idea for how it might go, but would also be happy to put it out to the BJ community in very loose terms, and see where that takes us. I just know that I want to become part of a more Engaged Citizenry, and BJ seems like a great space in which to explore that. Thoughts?

I may as well come right flat out and tell you what I think is one of the most useful things we can do to fight Trump: protest outside of Congressperson’s district offices. Get a big enough crowd and you can get the media to cover it. And it’s very likely to rattle the Congressperson and the Congressperson’s staff. Maybe rattle them enough to make them rethink their blind support for Dear Leader.

I don’t know much about what kinds of permits are needed for this.








Open Thread: Rep. Cummings Is Having None of This Trumpian ‘Gag Order’ BS

May his shadow never grow less! Politico:

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is encouraging federal employees to reach out to Congress if they are alarmed by the Trump administration’s policies.

“I want to make sure all of those federal employees who have anything they want to say to Congress, because there is some confusion as to whether they can talk to us, I’m telling you the law protects you and I will do every single thing in my power to make sure you’re protected,” the Maryland Democrat said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday. “Call me. I want to talk to you.”…

Reports that employees at several agencies, including the EPA, were asked to limit their public communications have riled members of Congress, especially Democrats, who hope to play an oversight role during the Trump administration.

Amid a public outcry, several federal agencies, including the Agriculture Department, have backtracked on their restrictions this week.

My emphasis. Rep. Cummings, as well as continuing to stand up for the best of the American ideal, would seem to be putting his committee fellows — especially the Repubs, some of the noisiest deplorables in the GOP basket — on notice. More power to him!

What else is on the agenda for the evening?