North Carolina Man Loves His Donuts!

You have to appreciate the commitment to one’s craft!

Charlotte Observer, take it away!

A North Carolina man who made headlines when he was caught for break-ins after winning a doughnut-eating contest has been arrested again. And this time he’s accused of stealing from a doughnut shop.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports 27-year-old Bradley Hardison of Elizabeth City was charged Thursday with stealing from a Dunkin’ Donuts in November.

An Elizabeth City Police Department statement says he’s charged with felonies including breaking and entering and larceny. It wasn’t clear if he helped himself to any doughnuts.

A phone listing for Hardison rang disconnected.

Obligatory:

Stay frosted!

Open thread.



Blog Chewtoy Long Read: “Does This Man Know More Than Robert Mueller?”

What committed activist could resist the lure of a long-form profile in a glossy NYC-based magazine, nestled between full-page ads for Rolex watches and Broadway hits? Unfortunately, despite Simon van Zuylen-Wood’s best beat-sweetening efforts, Greenwald’s logorrheic arrogance and simmering resentment of all the mundanes who fail to appreciate his brilliance make him sound less like Andrew Sullivan and more like Ted Cruz:

It’s 10:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro time. Glenn Greenwald and I are finishing dinner at a deserted bistro in Ipanema. The restaurant, which serves its sweating beer bottles in metal buckets and goes heavy on the protein, is almost aggressively unremarkable (English menus on the table, a bossa-nova version of “Hey Jude” on the stereo). Greenwald avoids both meat and alcohol but seems to enjoy dining here. “I really believe that if I still lived in New York, the vast majority of my friends would be New York and Washington media people and I would kind of be implicitly co-opted.” He eats a panko-crusted shrimp. “It just gives me this huge buffer. You’ve seen how I live, right? When I leave my computer, that world disappears.”

Greenwald, now 50, has seemed to live in his own bubble in Rio for years, since well before he published Edward Snowden’s leaks and broke the domestic-spying story in 2013 — landing himself a Pulitzer Prize, a book deal, and, in time, the backing of a billionaire (that’s Pierre Omidyar) to start a muckraking, shit-stirring media empire (that’s First Look Media, home to the Intercept, though its ambitions have been downgraded over time). But he seems even more on his own since the election, just as the agitated left has regained the momentum it lost in the Obama years.

The reason is Russia. For the better part of two years, Greenwald has resisted the nagging bipartisan suspicion that Trumpworld is in one way or another compromised by a meddling foreign power. If there’s a conspiracy, he suspects, it’s one against the president; where others see collusion, he sees “McCarthyism.” Greenwald is predisposed to righteous posturing and contrarian eye-poking — and reflexively more skeptical of the U.S. intelligence community than of those it tells us to see as “enemies.”…

Thanks to this never-ending hot take, Greenwald has been excommunicated from the liberal salons that celebrated him in the Snowden era; anybody who questions the Russia consensus, he says, “becomes a blasphemer. Becomes a heretic. I think that’s what they see me as.” Greenwald is no longer invited on MSNBC, and he’s portrayed in the Twitter fever swamp as a leading villain of the self-styled Resistance. “I used to be really good friends with Rachel Maddow,” he says. “And I’ve seen her devolution from this really interesting, really smart, independent thinker into this utterly scripted, intellectually dishonest, partisan hack.” His view of the liberal online media is equally charitable. “Think about one interesting, creative, like, intellectually novel thing that [Vox’s] Matt Yglesias or Ezra Klein have said in like ten years,” he says. “In general, they’re just churning out Democratic Party agitprop every single day of the most superficial type.” (Reached for comment, none of these people would respond to Greenwald.)

All this has led to one of the less-anticipated developments of the Donald Trump presidency: Glenn Greenwald, Fox News darling. For his sins, Greenwald has been embraced by opportunistic #MAGA partisans seeking to discredit the Trump-Russia story. When alt-right ringleader Mike Cernovich sat for a 60 Minutes interview last year, he praised only one journalist: Greenwald. “My opinion of Glenn ten or 15 years ago was entirely negative,” says Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who now heralds him as one of the “clearest thinkers” in media.

This, by the way, is the reason we’re eating dinner so late on a Tuesday: Greenwald has to be at a TV studio in a few minutes to be interviewed by Carlson. We leave the restaurant and head across the street to the garage where he parked his Mitsubishi Outlander. Unexpectedly, the gate to the entrance has been shut and the attendant is missing. Mild panic sets in. Greenwald begins rattling the gate. Even if we catch a cab to the studio, his TV clothes are in the car, and he is currently wearing shorts and an old polo shirt. “How,” he frets, “can I go on Fox News dressed like this?”…
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You can check out anytime you like…

So, I got a trap to capture the feral cats an irresponsible neighbor feeds* so I can have them spayed/neutered and returned to the ‘hood, which is the way such situations are handled in my county (i.e., at taxpayer expense and with no enforcement of existing regulations). This dude showed up for the Fancy Feast instead, and now the fucker won’t leave my trap!

At first, I was thinking, “Oh, poor thing! Maybe his tail is caught or something,” but he has turned around inside the trap multiple times and does not seem to be injured. Several times, he’s faced the open end of the trap with freedom just inches from his pointy little snout and humans completely out of sight (but watching from the window). He hisses and bares his teeth when approached, but he doesn’t seem inclined to leave. Somehow, this is a metaphor for my entire life.

*I’ve got no problem with people feeding feral cats if they also take responsibility for the resulting colony, including the obligation to trap, neuter and release the cats so the population doesn’t get out of control. The neighbor in question does not, so I have to take on the expense and time involved instead. This makes her a terrible neighbor, IMO.

Update: Now he’s moved to the end of the trap and is sort of using it as a sun porch:

He’s never going to leave, is he?

UPDATE 2: He skedaddled!



Brow-Raising Read: “Jared Kushner Is China’s Trump Card”

Few things are more dangerous, in this wicked world, than a stupid rich man who thinks he’s ‘superior’. Adam Entous & Evan Osnos, in the New Yorker:

In early 2017, shortly after Jared Kushner moved into his new office in the West Wing of the White House, he began receiving guests. One visitor who came more than once was Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, a veteran diplomat with a postgraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University. When, during previous Administrations, Cui had visited the White House, his hosts received him with a retinue of China specialists and note-takers. Kushner, President Trump’s thirty-seven-year-old son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, preferred smaller gatherings…

In Kushner, Cui found a confident, attentive, and inexperienced counterpart. The former head of his family’s real-estate empire, which is worth more than a billion dollars, Kushner was intent on bringing a businessman’s sensibility to matters of state. He believed that fresh, confidential relationships could overcome the frustrations of traditional diplomatic bureaucracy. Henry Kissinger, who, in his role as a high-priced international consultant, maintains close relationships in the Chinese hierarchy, had introduced Kushner to Cui during the campaign, and the two met three more times during the transition. In the months after Trump was sworn in, they met more often than Kushner could recall. “Jared became Mr. China,” Michael Pillsbury, a former Pentagon aide on Trump’s transition team, said.

But Cui’s frequent encounters with Kushner made some people in the U.S. government uncomfortable. On at least one occasion, they met alone, which counterintelligence officials considered risky. “There’s nobody else there in the room to verify what was said and what wasn’t, so the Chinese can go back and claim anything,” a former senior U.S. official who was briefed on the meetings said. “I’m sorry, Jared—do you think your background is going to allow you to be able to outsmart the Chinese Ambassador?” Kushner, the official added, “is actually pretty smart. He just has limited life experiences. He was acting with naïveté.”…

Kushner often excluded the government’s top China specialists from his meetings with Cui, a slight that rankled and unnerved the bureaucracy. “He went in utterly unflanked by anyone who could find Beijing on a map,” a former member of the National Security Council said. Some officials who were not invited to Kushner’s sessions or briefed on the outcomes resorted to scouring American intelligence reports to see how Chinese diplomats described their dealings with Kushner. Other U.S. officials spoke to Cui directly about the meetings. Kushner was “their lucky charm,” the former N.S.C. member said. “It was a dream come true. They couldn’t believe he was so compliant.” (A spokesman for Kushner said that none of the China specialists told him that “he shouldn’t be doing it the way he was doing it at the time.”)

[And if they did, he wasn’t listening.]
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The future’s not ours to see

The race for PA-18 has gotten very close (Trump won by nearly 20 points).

Dems have a great candidate, Conor Lamb. If he wins, expect more GOP retirements. This one is a longshot but it’s big, and it may be winnable. Predictions are hard, especially about the future. I just upped the goal to $7500.

Goal Thermometer








Open Thread: The Struggle Continues

If you thought it was going to be easy, you weren’t paying attention.


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LEST WE FORGET… Mitch McConnell is an evil, evil excuse for a human being:


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Also, let’s keep reminding people what a LOSING LUZER Trump has shown himself to be…



I Was Wrong, Again

Mr. Anderson is correct to disagree with me. I was hasty and ill-informed and let my inner pessimist rule:

Roughly 60 hours after the federal government first shut down, a bipartisan group of negotiators in the Senate reached a breakthrough to reopen the government by uniting Republican and Democratic leaders in an agreement on immigration and spending.

The Senate headed toward overwhelming passage of a short-term spending bill later in the day Monday after voting to end debate by a vote of 81-18. The House was then expected to pass the measure and send it to President Trump for his signature, laying the groundwork for the government to reopen by Monday evening.

The spending bill would fund the government through Feb. 8 and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years.

This is actually a good deal- I had no idea it was getting CHIP off the table. I thought it was just kicking the can down the road. The mental and financial relief this will bring to millions of parents is such a good thing, and the actually care for kids is even better. I need to be more optimistic, and good work Dems.








Big news in Pennsylvania

And now I will disagree with Cole.

What was the Senate deal?

  • Fund CHIP
  • Cut some ACA taxes that no one really likes
  • Fund the rest of the government for three weeks

The deal removes one hostage (CHIP) from danger.  The Senate will probably pass a DREAM-like bill soon which jams the House where it either passes after Ryan Boehners himself or there is a clear accountability moment.  It is hard to enact a positive agenda when one does control any calendar/agenda setting power but this deal cleans things up a bit for another go at DACA/DREAM in three weeks.



Calendar Update

We are going with an initial run of 200. The price of the calendar is $25.00.

If you have not done so already, email balloonjuicecalendar@gmail.com and just put the number of calendars you desire in the subject line.

Do not send money. Do not paypal money yet. Once the calendars are printed I will email you SPECIFIC instructions.

Sorry to be so control freakish about this, but if we do not do this right it will end up a total clusterfuck.








The Stupid Party Strikes Again

Soooo… The government will reopen, McConnell will never schedule a clean vote on DACA, and even if he does it will never pass the House, we get to do this again in a few weeks, and the Dreamers will rightfully hate Democrats.

Awesome!








Happy Cat Rescue Update: Tripod Tex

The little ex-feral is doing most excellent! Heard from Reilyn, who couriered Miss Callie:

A quick follow-up…I sent a note to Lori, the organizer, right after the donation; letting her know this was the leftovers from the Callie collections from the BalloonJuice community and therefore asking that she use the rest to either cover additional vet care for Tex or use to help other kittehz in need:

“Thank you! I will use extra money towards insulated outdoor shelters for the cats in Tex’s colony, and to help defray costs of TNR of the colony (and any friendly kittens we can adopt out)…

“I cannot thank you and the folks in your group enough for all of your incredible generosity for Tex!! My husband and I are pretty much speechless to receive such support from people we don’t know, for this wonderful little cat.

Tex loves to run and play. He purrs if we just look at him. I took him to our vet last week for his rabies vaccination and his first distemper vaccination. He’ll be neutered before he’s adopted out.

I have one couple that might adopt him, but if not, he’ll be on petfinder.com soon through the no-kill cat shelter I volunteer with, ewhiskers.com, here in Albany, NY.

Again, please thank everyone for me — Tex is such a happy little guy. That bad leg would have killed him with that bone infection … He is definitely worth keeping in this world for as long as possible! :) Lori”

Johannes:

I just heard from Lori that the Balloon Juice contribution for Tex’s GoFundMe—which brought her to and over goal — arrived. As a thank you, she’s sending a few pics of Tex for you and the Juicers.

Thanks so much; it means a lot to la Caterina and me, but far more to Lori and Tex.

We did good, guys.








Deductibles, incentives and the chronically costly

That Tweeter is the mother of Savannah, an adorable four year old, whose internal plumbing is a bit off.

They are insured primarily through a private policy with a $6,000 individual deductible and Medicaid picks up some of the rest. Her daughter is guaranteed to have significant medical needs for the rest of her life.

Deductibles, for most people in reasonable health, are an incentive against getting care. I have a deductible for my insurance at work which means I am paying the first $1,000 dollars for non-Primary Care. For little things a deductible is supposed to give me an incentive to say that I’ll take Motrin and drink some more tea instead of going to the doctors to get it checked out or that I will go to an off-site MRI facility instead of getting my knee scanned at the hospital. A deductible chops off a lot of the risk on the left hand side of the spending distribution for an insurance company.

High deductible health plans are effective at reducing service utilization.  They are currently ineffective at making people good shoppers.  However the incentive effect goes away once the deductible is reached.  Here there are two scenarios.  If someone is in reasonably good health and has a one time spike claim that maxes out the deductible, then there is a short term incentive for that individual to pull medical utilization forward from the future to the current low cost sharing time period.  Someone may know that they need a knee replacement at some point in the future.  They had been deferring it because of the cost sharing.  If they had an unrelated two night hospital stay for the flu in January, they may decide to get their knee done in April because the marginal cost is much lower than it otherwise would have been.

Again, that is the more common scenario as most people most of the time are reasonably healthy.

However the incentive function of a deductible falls apart for people like Savannah.

No matter what the family does, they will blow through the deductible every policy year.  They may control whether they exceed the deductible in the first half of January or the second half of January.  The deductible has no incentive on their behavior because the expected medical costs for a non-crisis year are still huge and the costs for a crisis year is massive.

Instead, a deductible for a family that has someone with expensive, persistent high cost conditions is merely a tax.  It is saying that being sick means an annual levy of $6,000 that is collected every January for the rest of their lives.

Policy that works for 95% of the population because they don’t have persistent conditions that require a lot of expensive care fails miserably in the outliers.  Large deductibles may be an appropriate tool to hold down utilization and potentially prices for the cohort of people who are primarily worried about one-off events and have years of reserves to draw-down and then years to rebuild those reserves after the single bad year.  It fails miserably for people who never can accumulate or rebuild those reserves.








On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Juicers who are are on the road, traveling, or just want to share a little bit of their world via stories and pictures. So many of us rise each morning, eager for something beautiful, inspiring, amazing, subtle, of note, and our community delivers – a view into their world, whether they’re far away or close to home – pictures with a story, with context, with meaning, sometimes just beauty. By concentrating travel updates and tips here, it’s easier for all of us to keep up or find them later.

So please, speak up and share some of your adventures and travel news here, and submit your pictures using our speedy, secure form. You can submit up to 7 pictures at a time, with an overall description and one for each picture.

You can, of course, send an email with pictures if the form gives you trouble, or if you are trying to submit something special, like a zipped archive or a movie. If your pictures are already hosted online, then please email the links with your descriptions.

For each picture, it’s best to provide your commenter screenname, description, where it was taken, and date. It’s tough to keep everyone’s email address and screenname straight, so don’t assume that I remember it “from last time”. More and more, the first photo before the fold will be from a commenter, so making it easy to locate the screenname when I’ve found a compelling photo is crucial.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

There remain issues with the backend form submission, and so I’m not publishing what I’d planned for today. We’ll work on that and get it sorted, tout de suite.

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Monday Morning Open Thread: Women #Resisting


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Yeah, we’re gonna have to take the trash out on our own. There were more marches on Sunday, especially (as far as I can tell) in the West. More pics later today — send yours to annelaurie.bj@gmail.com if you want to share.
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Apart from resisting the racists, sexists and general monsters, what’s on the agenda as we start the new week?

Dave Weigel, in the Washington Post, “Las Vegas Women’s March pivots from feminist protest to politics”:

LAS VEGAS — The Women’s March “Power to the Polls” rally unfolded 2,417 miles from the Capitol, in a city where the daily work of Washington feels even further away. But the day’s biggest cheers came when activists thanked Senate Democrats and said that the government shutdown should not end until immigrants brought to the United States as children won legal status.

“We stand in solidarity with the dreamers and with the senators who are fighting back and saying, they are Americans, too,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

“People are choosing my life for me right now,” said Astrid Silva, a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. “You can protect us, every single one of you, here.”

The rally had been designed for politics, pivoting the Women’s March — the official organization, which has clashed with some affiliates and spinoffs — into a campaign to end Republican control of Congress and the states through mass voter registration.

The shutdown, which many activists said they had not expected, had clarified just what those politics were. Republicans have largely tied their fates and their 2018 organizing to their president; Democrats have largely followed the lead of a base that believes it can change the electorate by giving left-leaning non-voters reasons to join it…



Late Night Open Thread: Denizens of the Night

Am I a terrible person if my first thought is “At least the porn star gets tested for STDs on a regular basis… “ ?


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