Texas, what a surprise:

Color me completely unshocked from this report in the LA Times:

When the Affordable Care Act took effect in October 2013, there were 14 states in which more than 1 in 5 adults lacked health insurance; today only Texas remains, according to data released Monday….

Its uninsurance rate fell from 27% in 2013 to just under 21% in the first half of this year, making it the only state that has more than one-fifth of its residents uninsured.

By contrast, in Arkansas and Kentucky, both of which started above 20% uninsured, just 9% of adult residents lack insurance….

In addition to Texas, most of the states with the highest levels of adults lacking insurance are located in the South and interior West in states including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nevada.

So states that did not expand Medicaid and are engaged in massive resistance to assisting people getting subsidized private insurance are sucking goat balls.

They are sociopathic sadists without safewords.



Thermite At A Funeral

Ta-Nehisi Coates comes not to praise The New Republic, but to bury it under big neon signs pointing to evidence that it was a festering canker of “liberal” racist drivel.  He gives the publication and its more famous staff no less than they deserve.

That explains why the family rows at TNR’s virtual funeral look like the “Whites Only” section of a Jim Crow-era movie-house. For most its modern history, TNR has been an entirely white publication, which published stories confirming white people’s worst instincts. During the culture wars of the ’80s and ’90s, TNR regarded black people with an attitude ranging from removed disregard to blatant bigotry. When people discuss TNR’s racism, Andrew Sullivan’s publication of excerpts from Charles Murray’s book The Bell Curve (and a series of dissents) gets the most attention. But this fuels the lie that one infamous issue stands apart. In fact, the Bell Curve episode is remarkable for how well it fits with the rest of TNR’s history.

The personal attitude of TNR’s longtime owner, the bigoted Martin Peretz, should be mentioned here. Peretz’s dossier of racist hits (mostly at the expense of blacks and Arabs) is shameful, and one does not have to look hard to find evidence of it in Peretz’s writing or in the sensibility of the magazine during his ownership. In 1984, long before Sullivan was tapped to helm TNR, Charles Murray was dubbing affirmative action a form of “new racism” that targeted white people.

Two years later, Washington Post writer Richard Cohen was roundly rebuked for advocating that D.C. jewelry stores discriminate against young black men—but not by TNR. The magazine took the opportunity to convene a panel to “reflect briefly” on whether it was moral for merchants to bar black men from their stores. (“Expecting a jewelry store owner to risk his life in the service of color-blind justice is expecting too much,” the magazine concluded.)

TNR made a habit of “reflecting briefly” on matters that were life and death to black people but were mostly abstract thought experiments to the magazine’s editors. Before, during, and after Sullivan’s tenure, the magazine seemed to believe that the kind of racism that mattered most was best evidenced in the evils of Afrocentrism, the excesses of multiculturalism, and the machinations of Jesse Jackson. It’s true that TNR’s staff roundly objected to excerpting The Bell Curve, but I was never quite sure why. Sullivan was simply exposing the dark premise that lay beneath much of the magazine’s coverage of America’s ancient dilemma.

And Coates continues with his vicious slashing, like a literary velociraptor let loose in a sheep pasture, the whole article is breathtaking. Was everybody at the magazine complicit in this?  No, but that’s irrelevant, frankly. As far as I’m concerned, Chris Hughes’s massive techbro hubris actually did the world a favor for once, and mortally wounded something that should have been taken out back and shot years ago. And Sully, Marty Peretz, Charles Murray, Stephen Glass, all those guys can go straight to the septic tank of history as far as I’m concerned along with their damn “liberal” New Republic.



Arsenic and old lace

The wingers are getting restless about Pope Francis. A question: if he dies mysteriously, am I still crazy for thinking that right-wingers might have murdered John Paul I?



His “sense” is this is very much like subprime lending

Since this scam has been going on for a long, long time, I don’t think he would be my first-choice investment adviser:

Hedge fund titan and education reform activist Whitney Tilson turned his Value Investing Congress speech Tuesday into an all-out attack against technology-based education company K12, calling it “a catastrophe for education” in spite of solid financials.
But even more damning for K12, which runs online schools at various levels, was Tilson’s decision to publicly short the company’s stock—a move that can be risky for high profile investors, attracting regulators and legal action from disgruntled CEOs. If K12’s stock indeed plummets in the coming months, Tilson and other short sellers stand to make a lot of money.
Tilson outlined his exhaustive research on K12’s academic practices, including poorly paid instructors with 300-1 student-teacher ratios, the targeting of at-risk children whose parents won’t complain to administrators about poor performance, and online classes for which students merely have to switch on their phones and login to be counted as active.
But Tilson also noted K12’s financials, which up to this point have been strong: the company has experienced revenue growth of 32% annually for the past decade. What’s more, the company estimates a $15 billion market for K12 students, and average revenue per student has risen over the last four quarters.

Well, a degenerate gambler and a finance-industry felon created K12, which was a bit of a red flag for this “investor” but apparently not for the hedge fund managers who make up “Democrats for Education Reform.”

It’s strange to watch this slowly spread upward to the highest levels of reform industry leadership, because here in Ohio where ed reform is a huge business we’ve had a failing cybercharter industry sector for many years. I first became aware of this particular ed reform portfolio investment several years ago, when some of the most vulnerable kids we encountered in the court system stopped attending local public high schools and decided to leverage the free market power of “choice” by signing up for cyberschool.

That many of them are completely unsupervised at home for a variety of reasons and chose this option to avoid intrusive questions from the “educrats” at our government school on their GPA, progress toward graduation, mental health issues and chaotic and often tragic home lives didn’t seem to concern national ed reform industry leaders like Jeb Bush and John Kasich but we wondered at the time if cutting them loose like that was a very bad idea. It had come to our attention that many of them do poorly in school not because their teachers belong to a union but because their home lives are an absolute horror show. It reached the point a couple of years ago where even the most conservative juvenile judge I’m in front of took to bellowing at us that these kids should all be “IN SCHOOL!” Incredibly, ed reform industry lobbyists in Ohio just expanded cybercharters. Again.

As anyone who has watched Milton Friedman’s crackpot theories go from roundtable to reality already knows, it is really, really difficult to regulate a publicly-funded private entity once deregulation and then industry capture of politicians takes hold. We know it in Ohio, and they’re finding it out in Pennsylvania, where a cybercharter profiteer inexplicably escaped state oversight and regulation for years, until he was finally indicted by the feds last month.

I hope this reform industry leader’s shorting strategy works, because K12 just captured another student sector, in New Jersey, despite the fact that the giant ed corp has failed so miserably everywhere else. Whether the following is related to that decision I do not know:

Christie’s acting education commissioner, Christopher Cerf, has experience in public-private school partnerships. He previously led Edison Schools, a for-profit company that became the largest private-sector manager of public schools. From 1999 to 2001, Christie was a registered lobbyist at a law firm that lobbied New Jersey government on behalf of Edison Schools, according to filings with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission. While the firm was representing the multinational education company, Chris Cerf was its general counsel. The firm, Dughi, Hewit and Palatucci, also represented Mosaica Education, a for-profit charter school operator, and the University of Phoenix, a for-profit online university.

Since we already know that for-profit colleges are a predatory rip-off and nearly impossible to regulate due to industry capture of politicians on both sides of the aisle, can anyone tell me why we decided to expand this bad idea? Are we really this fucking reckless and stupid, that we’d privatize our K thru 12 public education system? Tell me there’s a responsible adult somewhere in the state or federal government who has a handle on this, because I’m not seeing anyone step up here in The Heartland and Arne Duncan seems to me to have abandoned traditional public schools completely.



The siege of Washington

You know, I read a lot. Especially about things… about history. I find that shit fascinating. Here’s a fact I don’t know whether you know or not. In 1258, the Mongols laid siege to Baghdad and ended up killing pretty much everyone in the city. Baghdad had been a city where, by some accounts, the majority of the population was literate, a remarkable accomplishment for the time, but it never really recovered from the siege and subsequent slaughter.

I bring this up because what I’ve read about the Mongolian siege method (maybe your method of siege differs from mine) is that they could hang out outside the city indefinitely, and throw shit into the city. No skin off their back to sit there and drink fermented mare’s milk and what not while the siege went on. They had great supply lines, so they weren’t going to starve.

It’s a lot like the methods of the conservative movement.

SteveM points out that while a shutdown might hurt the GOP, it won’t hurt the conservative movement. The Club For Growth et al. can raise money off whatever happens, sit outside, and throw shit at the rest of the country forever. With the gerrymandering of the House and the structure of the Senate, they’ll be far from powerless until at least 2022.

But can the country survive that long?

Update. Hook a brother up: email Andrew Sullivan and see if you can get him to nominate this post for a Moore Award.








Not that f*cking topic again

Sullivan needs to let go of Trigg race and IQ before it starts to embarrass him.

Yes, “race” is a social construct when we define it as “white”, “black,” “Asian” or, even more ludicrously, “Hispanic.” But why then does the overwhelming data show IQ as varying in statistically significant amounts between these completely arbitrary racially constructed populations? Is the testing rigged? If the categories are arbitrary, then the IQs should be randomly distributed. But they aren’t, even controlling for education, income, etc.

These concepts of ‘race’ are indeed social constructs. Sub-Saharan Africa has more genetic diversity than the rest of the world combined. ‘Hispanics’ can come from a lot of different places. If IQ tracks very well with a social construct and poorly with genetics, the default hypothesis ought to be that the collective IQ disparity is also a social construct. Sticking with a more complicated hypothesis makes you look less like the rational person in the room and more like a retrograde Tory clinging to the racialist baggage of the British Empire.








I am glad that Michael Kelly is dead

And I wish he’d died younger. I recommend this piece from TNC:

There’s a kind of writer who gets his kicks writing bad reviews of music and books. You see that same spirit in Kelly’s mocking of Paul Krugman, Kurt Vonnegut, and Janeane Garofalo, or in his attacks on the French by evoking the ghost of Pétain.

That glee turned Kelly into a thin writer who spurned nuance in favor of hyperbole. In the fall of 2002, for instance, Kelly wrote that Bush…

…presides over an administration that is unusually intelligent — and also cunning — unusually experienced, unusually disciplined and unusually bold.

Of course, when some establishment asshole dies, the serious people tell us that we’re monsters if we say we’re glad they’re dead. When some asshole they don’t like (say Hugo Chavez or Gore Vidal) dies, they happily dance on his grave.