Child Internment Camps Open Thread: “But My RATINGS!”

I told y’all Nuzzi was a professional assassin:

Donald Trump doesn’t even pretend to believe in any of the pieties he reads (badly) off the teleprompter, but he most certain does believe in his bigly media presence. All of a sudden child-internment has started interfering with his TV image — not to mention the fortunes of the GOP come November, insofar as he cares about that — and it’s gotta be chafing him like a sandy swimsuit one size too small.

Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I’m hoping more pressure on this ugly bruise will encourage Lord Smallgloves to discover that *somebody* (probably Nielsen, she’s only a woman after all) cruelly misled him over the whole situation, and will have to be publicly humiliated and stripped of their (her) Oval Office Occupancy epaulets…

Read more

Back to the phones

And here is the repackaged Graham-Cassidy proposal from the Heritage Foundation and Rick Santorum.

TLDR: Don’t get sick

The full plan has not been released yet, but the way that the program is set up is that insurance companies are allowed to underwrite and age rate at whatever level they want. Additionally, eligible individuals can take a per capita allotment to spend as they see fit on health insurance. This is great for the young and statistically likely to be healthy. If you are a 38 year old with Stage 4 cancer (like a friend of mine) taking a $100,000 a year oral chemo that so far is working, good luck as no insurer will cover you and the $241 a month in per-capita allotment is not even enough to be insulting.

So you know what to do: back to the phones and give your Senators and Representatives a piece of your mind.

World Cup Open Thread, Day 6

Photo by renowned On-the-Road commentor Otmar.

Columbia v Japan at 8am EDT; Poland v Senegal at 11am; Russia v Egypt at 2pm. (Funny how Russia gets the prime viewing time slots, eh? Or is that standard policy for the host country?) FIFA liveblog at the Google link.

Silver mirrors Bronze plans

In the spring of 2017, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new rules that broadened the allowable de-minimis variation in actuarial value. Silver, Gold and Platinum plans were allowed to be up to four points under the nominal target instead of the previous two point cushion. They were still restricted to being two points above the target. Bronze plans were allowed to bounce from two points underneath the nominal target of 60% actuarial value. Bronze plans were allowed to go over the nominal target by five points.

Old Rules Current Rules
Target AV Low High Low High
Platinum 90 88 92 86 92
Gold 80 78 82 76 82
Silver 70 68 72 66 72
Bronze 60 58 62 58 65

The goal was to provide more flexibility and to allow for slightly less expensive off-exchange premiums and perhaps slightly lower federal subsidies if the acturial value of the second least expensive Silver plan went below the previous 68% AV floor.

I was playing around with the 2019 CMS Actuarial Value calculator to determine how much $100 changes in deductible buys in actuarial value. That is a post for a different day. While I was doing that, I noticed something very interesting in plan design.

If you take a bare bones plan with a $5,425 deductible where everything besides the required preventative care services are deductible eligible, that plan can be both a Silver plan and a Bronze plan. There is a good mechanical reason for this mirroring.

My data is here.

CMS’s actuarial value calculator draws on different cost distributions for each metal plan. The actuaries assume that individuals with identical health profiles will use more services in a higher actuarial value band than in a lower band. This is “induced demand.” The model uses a step function for induced demand as a plan at the low end of the band is assumed to have the same induced demand as a plan at the high end of a band. So when a plan is right on the edge, it can draw against two different cost profiles to produce two slightly different actuarial value calculations. And in this corner case, the same plan design can qualify as two different metals.

This is interesting. There is nothing nefarious about a weird little corner case based on a step function and two different data pulls. But it offers up interesting strategic choices to call a plan that prices the same as either a Silver plan or a Bronze plan. Let’s assume that plans price in direct relationship to the actual underlying actuarial value with a continuous induced demand function once we hold network and plan type constant for a single insurer. This plan would then price the same for a Silver or a Bronze designation.

So what would an insurer do? I’m speculating wildly now.
Read more

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!

Read more

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Dance Party!

Spirit lifter from staunch commentor LAMH:

So I’m watching anything else but more political news, and watching some of the MTV Movie/TV Awards…. And this happened:

Chadwick Boseman won for best Hero for Black Panther and he did this:

Chadwick said we should honor real life heroes as well. So he called up James Shaw Jr and gave the award to him and thanked him for his real world heroism!!!

At the same event, Michael B. Jordan also won an award, for playing EriK Killmonger in Black Panther. And said: I’m shocked that I won this award for Best Villain. I thought for sure Roseanne had that in the bag.”

And for a coda, professional vote-suppressor Kris ‘I Too Am Super Racist’ Kobach got told to SIT IN THE DUNCE CORNER, AND FEEL SHAME.
Read more

Here’s Your Plan of Action in Response to the President’s Policy Separating the Children of Asylum Seekers from Their Parents: Protests are Scheduled in DC and Around the Country for 30 June 2018

Walter Shaub has the details:

Here’s our tips for a safe protest experience.

For those looking to donate, there’s RAICES Family Reunification:

Here’s their donation link.

If you’ve got other groups you recommend donating to that are helping with this emergency solely created by the President, his Senior Advisor Stephen Miller, and Attorney General Sessions, please put them in the comments.

Take heart that what everyone is already doing is working. If it wasn’t, Senator Cruz – a Latino Canadian who moved to the US so he could become a white supremacist – wouldn’t be submitting even bad legislation in an attempt to change the subject ahead of the midterm elections.

Does anyone really think that Senator Cruz would be trying to do anything, even something bad that he could spin, if his internal polling for his campaign for reelection wasn’t showing that Congressman Beto O’Rourke wasn’t a serious threat? I expect that Cruz’s campaign polling is showing Beto as a very strong and credible threat. The campaigns’ internal polling in their states and districts, which they never release, is almost always much, much better than any other polling as they know what to ask, how to ask it, and who to sample and survey.

Stay angry, get organized, and get ready to mobilize!

Open thread.

Open Thread: Don’t Just Blame the Prison Warden — Look At Her Boss

All the man needs now is a toothbrush mustache:

The (other) 14 Words.

Of course, the rest of the GOP is… well, if not fine with this policy, at least too cowed to complain:

Here’s to the Future Lifelong Unemployment of Kirstjen Nielsen

As a general rule, whenever you are required to hold an ad hoc press conference defending your administration’s elective policy of ripping toddlers away from their parents and then putting both child and parent in separate prisons, you can expect that things are not going to be received well and should probably plan on the event going rather poorly. But, if you are a Trump administration member, you can just say fuck it and go all in and just lie about everything.

I suppose I could go into every single lie told by Nielsen by her presser, but instead I’ll just let this headline at Splinter do the heavy lifting:

She basically lied about everything, but she smiled through a 1/4 inch of foundation and caked on mascara while doing it, so let’s just consider this her FOX news audition tape, because she should be unemployable for the rest of her life, the fucking ghoul, but she’ll no doubt have a job at Trump state tv.

Interesting Read: “A Truth Sandwich”

Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon

(Tom Toles via

Former NYT ombudsman Margaret Sullivan is predictably dubious that such a policy could be implemented under the current system, but kudos to her for headlining it anyways. From her current employer, the Washington Post:

Last week was a particularly rough one for journalists and truth-seeking citizens.

President Trump declared the news media the nation’s worst enemy. And time after shocking time, his acolytes demeaned or threatened reporters for doing one of their most basic jobs: asking questions of those in power…

And the president’s anti-media campaign is convincing at least some citizens that journalists have no worth.

Enter George Lakoff. An author, cognitive scientist and linguist who has long studied how propaganda works, he believes it’s long past time for the reality-based news media to stop kowtowing to the emperor…

Unlike those who insist that what the president says is news and therefore must be reported, Lakoff proposes a radical reimagining of how the news media reports on Trump.

Instead of treating the president’s every tweet and utterance — true or false — as newsworthy (and then perhaps fact-checking it later), Lakoff urges the use of what he calls a “truth sandwich.”

First, he says, get as close to the overall, big-picture truth as possible right away. (Thus the gist of the Trump-in-Singapore story: Little of substance was accomplished in the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, despite the pageantry.) Then report what Trump is claiming about it: achievement of world peace. And then, in the same story or broadcast, fact-check his claims.

That’s the truth sandwich — reality, spin, reality — all in one tasty, democracy-nourishing meal.

Avoid retelling the lies. Avoid putting them in headlines, leads or tweets, he says. Because it is that very amplification that gives them power.

That’s how propaganda works on the brain: through repetition, even when part of that repetition is fact-checking…

Lakoff is not the only one who has suggested radical changes in how the news media conducts itself in the Trump era.

Jay Rosen of New York University sums up one such proposal in three words: “Send the interns.”

White House briefings, since the very beginning of Sean Spicer’s efforts to defend the indefensible about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd, are no place for talented, highly compensated reporters to spend their time and energy…

So, Rosen says, go ahead and continue to staff these briefings. But send the interns…

The White House already treats reporters like unruly adolescents — I’d kinda enjoy seeing them face a roomful of actual Youngs with media. If only because it’d be highly entertaining to watch Huckabee-Sanders or Kellyanne Conway’s face as they realized they’d been relegated to the scrub team!

This is the Sound of President Trump’s America

For those unable to listen or unwilling to subject themselves to it, here’s how ProPublica describes the recording (from The Texas Tribune because ProPublica’s server is overwhelmed):

The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard they can barely breathe. They scream “Mami” and “Papá” over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.

The baritone voice of a Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” he jokes. “What’s missing is a conductor.”

Then a distraught but determined 6-year-old Salvadoran girl pleads repeatedly for someone to call her aunt. Just one call, she begs anyone who will listen. She says she’s memorized the phone number, and at one point, rattles it off to a consular representative. “My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt,” she whimpers, “and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible.”

An audio recording obtained by ProPublica adds real-life sounds of suffering to a contentious policy debate that has so far been short on input from those with the most at stake: immigrant children. More than 2,300 of them have been separated from their parents since April, when the Trump administration launched its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which calls for prosecuting all people who attempt to illegally enter the country and taking away the children they brought with them. More than 100 of those children are under the age of 4. The children are initially held in warehouses, tents or big box stores that have been converted into Border Patrol detention facilities.

Much more at the link.

Given the audio above, Secretary Nielsen is obviously a liar:

Stay angry!

Open thread.

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing to Review the DOJ Inspector General’s Report Live Stream

Sorry I got to this a little late, but I was working on something offline. Anyhow, here is the live stream of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing to review the DOJ IG’s report. Testifying before the committee are DOJ IG Horowitz and FBI Director Wray. Things to watch for:

  1. The Republican members of the committee to hammer both Director Wray and IG Horowitz on who should be punished and why they haven’t/aren’t being punished. As well as the Republican members of the committee hammering IG Horowitz about why people connected to the Clinton’s weren’t/aren’t being prosecuted.
  2. The Democratic members of the committee inquiring about why the report doesn’t deal with the reported in the IG report significant anti-Clinton bias and leaks out of the NY Field Office of the FBI during the campaign. Senators Feinstein has already been all over this and Senator Leahy is now asking Director Wray about it.

Open thread!


Fear not, we might be reaching the end of this horrible policy of separating families seeking asylum at the border, because inspirational leader Ben Sasse has introduced a strong bill in the Senate um introduced a Senate Resolution condemning the policy my bad I mean issued a strongly worded public statement written a tepid facebook post:

1) Family separation is wicked. It is harmful to kids and absolutely should NOT be the default U.S. policy. Americans are better than this.

2) This bad new policy is a reaction against a bad old policy. The old policy was “catch-and-release.” Under catch-and-release, if someone made it to the border and claimed asylum (whether true or not, and most of the time it wasn’t true), they were released into the U.S. until a future hearing date. Many folks obviously don’t show up at these hearings, so this became a new pathway into the U.S.

And blah blah blah he’s not going to do shit about it but wants people to separate himself from the monsters, which he can’t because by doing nothing he’s FUCKING ONE OF THEM. Even the god damned language we use is dehumanizing- “catch and release.” These are people, not an undersized fucking trout, you assholes. At any rate, there’s a reason Republican’s won’t do anything or sign on to the Democratic bill that has 40 something cosponsors. It’s who they fucking are:

This nonsense about there being some sort of true conservatism and Republican party separate from Cheeto Benito is insane. This is who the Republican party is. A bunch of real life monsters.

Also note the regrettably predictable appearance of the crazification factor. Thirteen years old and still holding strong. Peak wingnut, on the other hand, had it not been strangled in the crib a mere few hours later, would be ten years old.

Monday Afternoon Open Thread

Just something to push the Trumps’ ugly mugs down below the fold — our chianti sunflowers (plus ugly power lines behind them). Had to adjust the lighting a bit because the sun was behind the flowers, and now the colors look otherworldly.

Thread open for all topics!

Another Failed Trump Brand

Trump Casinos.
Trump Steaks.
Trump Airlines.
Trump Vodka.
Trump Mortgage.
Trump Magazine.
Trump Ice.
Trump University.

What do all of these Trump-branded things all have in common? They all went belly up. Kaput. Deceased. Bereft of life, they’ve joined the bleedin’ choir invisible.

If tens of millions of our fellow citizens weren’t such goddamned idiots, this record of scammy failures would have vaporized Trump’s “successful businessman” image, which seems to be the only thing Trump has expended a lot of effort to build. But, people are dumb and gullible, especially when reality collides with a carefully cultivated TV image, so here we are.

But 18 or so months into this dystopian hellscape, there’s just no excuse for a seasoned political analyst to express faith in another fraudulent Trump brand: the alleged moderating influence of Ivanka Trump. Yet Karen Tumulty does just that in a Post opinion column:

Melania Trump weighs in on her husband’s cruel policy. Where are you, Ivanka?

The first lady’s decision to step into the debate makes the silence of another Trump family member all the more telling. Where is Ivanka Trump, who is actually an official adviser to her father — and the one who claims that family issues are her portfolio?

All those photos of crying children don’t look so great on Instagram. Still, Ivanka, there is time to step up. You can do it. Be best.

Seriously? Give me a fucking break.

Now, as I said a couple of days ago, I think the Trump people have trod on their own dicks by going all-in on child-snatching. The practice is so morally repugnant that even reliable toadies like Franklin Graham publicly object to the policy, and Trump’s usual lie-and-deflect strategy doesn’t seem to be resonating outside the Fox News bubble.

Meanwhile, the images of crying parents and brown kids in cages have generated such enthusiasm in Trump’s white supremacist base that it will be difficult to walk the policy back without angering the most devoted cultists. It’s possible the abnormal brain trust in the White House is discussing a face-saving climb-down this very moment, possibly even one involving Ivanka.

But even if Sarah Huckabee-Sanders trots Ivanka Trump out at today’s news briefing to announce an end to the old man’s child kidnappings (spoiler: not gonna happen — Shitler is doubling down on Twitter right now), it would be yet another scam. Ivanka’s supposed influence on her monstrous father is just another Trump-branded fraud, and anyone who seriously looks to that empty-headed non-entity for moral leadership is a moron.