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We all have a lot of hopes.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.10.17

Not to harp on this incredibly dumb nitpicking of the word "hope" but: How can you debate whether or not something counts as a threat when the guy follows through on the consequence?

Person A makes an ambiguous threat linking action P to consequence Q.
Person B does P anyway.
Sure enough, Person A does Q.
Then yes, it was a threat. A credible threat!

Also, lifting from the comments:

Me: So: if Trump goads congress into having him testify under oath, and he lies like a lying liar throughout because he has no other rhetorical manner, then we all agree nothing will continue to happen except another norm of impeachment will be broken?

Just Plain Jane: Yes.

Just so we're clear.


 

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The Other White Meat

Posted by Ogged
on 06.09.17

Any of you peeps running Linux as your primary OS? I'm getting tired of waiting for Haji Apple to put 32GB of RAM* in his Macbook Pro, and there are several Linux laptops that have that much and more. My impression is that hardware conflicts are the big problem, but it seems you can buy from a vendor like System76 who will take care of that.

I've been running Ubuntu in a VM, and have been able to install and use everything I use on my Mac. Any hidden gotchas?

*for VM's mainly. I have 16GB on my work machine, and often have to run two VMs simultaneously, and it crawls.


 

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Guest Post - Failure Is Always An Option

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.09.17

Nick S. writes: Sarah Kliff's latest reporting from Kentucky about the politics of Obamacare repeal is excellent. It combines a clear sense of the impact that repeal would have, and the various ways that people in KY have benefited from the ACA, with an explanation of the politics that leaves me with some sympathy for voters who oppose the AHCA and still support their Republican congressman (emphasis mine).

The uninsured rate here in this rural swath of southeastern Kentucky has plummeted faster under the Affordable Care Act than any other area in the country. I visited the area last winter and talked to Obamacare enrollees who voted for Trump. They expected the president to repeal the law and replace it with something much better. "That man has a head for business," one enrollee told me. "He will absolutely do his best to change things."


I went back this spring just after the House passed the AHCA, the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare that would cause 23 million fewer Americans to have health coverage, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. The optimism was gone. Resignation had replaced it.

"You know, thinking about it, I'm not even sure what I expected. I just thought it would miraculously work out wonderful for everybody," Bobbi Smith, a 62-year-old Obamacare enrollee who voted for Trump, says. "So I guess maybe I didn't put enough thought into what I would expect from a health care act."

...

In southeastern Kentucky, the Obamacare enrollees I interviewed were disappointed -- but they also weren't mad that their Congress member, Hal Rogers, voted to pass it. They talked about all the other good things he had done for the area in his decades of service. They gave him the benefit of the doubt, expecting that he must have cast his vote to improve the economy or solve a budget issue.

...

This sentiment felt ubiquitous in Corbin. Obamacare enrollees I interviewed didn't like the Republican plan, but they still trusted the Republican Party to do the right thing on health care

They felt like they had picked a side, and now they were going to stick with it.

That makes sense to me. As a Democrat I don't expect that I'm going to agree with everything that is supported by either the national party of my local representative. There are going to be plenty of times when I think they've made a mistake a decide to continue supporting them anyways.

I think one of the strongest arguments against that is that, going back to the 2008 campaign there's been almost a decade of discussions about health care, and that for anybody who had followed that, the outcomes have been basically predictable. The ACA hasn't worked as well as people hoped it would, but has mostly done what it was supposed to, and the AHCA is both an unsurprising Republican plan, and,. equally unsurprising, does nothing to improve health care or insurance.

Knowing that, I have more sympathy for ACA supporters. Part of this is partisan, I support the ACA and part of it is that I can recognize that the ACA made a clear attempt to solve the problems that it identified and, despite some issues, has delivered. By contrast, I have less patience for a group of people who have spent 8 years promising that they'll do something, and then made clear that they have no serious plan.

It's a strong argument for one's perspective to be able to make a prediction and then watch it come true. But that depends, in part on where one gets one's news (emphasis mine).

Rogers's office declined my request for an interview -- but the Congress member felt like a constant presence during my trip to Kentucky. The local highway is named after him, and so is the water park. People like Oller relied on his emails to constituents to get information about Obamacare.

"This is Hal Rogers; he just puts it simple," she says, when I asked her how Obamacare was going in her state. "Kentuckians have to choose between paying for health insurance and putting groceries on the table.

Nearly all Obamacare enrollees expected Rogers to stick around. They weren't mad about it either. Despite opposing his vote for the AHCA -- and having an intensely personal stake in the matter -- they felt he's served the district well.

Michael Martin, a 47-year-old Obamacare enrollee, says he thought of Rep. Rogers's AHCA vote as "a trade-off for all the other stuff he's done. He's brought jobs in. One of the places where I worked was one of the places he brought in."

That's infuriating but, again, I can sympathize. It's easy to understand how somebody could have that perspective, and I don't know how to best try to persuade a Republican voters like that. I said that I think it's compelling when you can watch predictions come true, but I also think it's almost useless to try to argue, "but look, I predicted this, here's an article from six years ago that proves the point" to somebody who didn't follow it at the time. I think the natural response to that would be a smirk and something along the lines of, "well isn't that good for you." It doesn't establish a shared reality, it just makes it sound like you're trying to prove how smart you are.

So how do you move somebody past a perspective of (paraphrasing), "I'm not happy with how this turned out, but I think it's an honest mistake. I think Republicans are trying to do the right thing in general, and they've just delivered poorly with this bill, but I still support them overall."?

Heebie's take: I've got two thoughts:
1. I also have had the passing thought that I'd put up a lot of bullshit if I had a Democratic congress mostly pushing bills I like. The thought experiment doesn't quite apply very well here - I'm having a hard time thinking of any policy the Republicans are pushing that benefits poor Kentucky residents. But when it comes to Trump's treason and tweet-storms and financial improprieties: how much would I put up with if he were signing progressive legislation?

2. Remember, for every article about the rural Trump yokel, you must have two about the utterly amoral suburban white-flight Trump voter despicable shithead. To what extent does this person care if Obamacare is dismantled? Probably uneven, according to the wealth of their extended family and whether they're in a state that expanded Medicaid.

In the wealthy suburbs of Louisville, where they voted for Trump out of greed, religion, and Fox brainwashing, how are they feeling about Kynect?


 

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Ok, Three Christians

Posted by Ogged
on 06.09.17

These folks are something else.

The family has spent much of the past 20 years in the jungles of Burma, where David Eubank founded the Free Burma Rangers, a humanitarian organization that provides emergency medical care, shelter and food supplies in the country's long-running civil war. They traveled to Iraq two years ago, at first working alongside Kurdish peshmerga forces in the war against the Islamic State. The family has also worked in Sudan and made two trips to the Kurdish areas of Syria. The war in Mosul, however, is more intense than anything they have experienced...

"They've been shelled, shot at, they've grown up like this," David Eubank said. "Our deal is that if there's another family there, we can be there. Americans aren't worth more than anyone else."

The video in that piece is intense. Courage of your convictions, indeed.


 

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Comey

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.08.17

I guess we should have a dedicated Comey thread? It feels like it's been overhyped, but maybe I'm just used to horrifying bombshells about the Trump administration. Yawn, more treason?


 

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There Is No Game Without Rules

Posted by Ogged
on 06.07.17

One of the things that's always driven me a little nuts is when people rationalize bad refereeing/umpiring by saying it's part of the "human element" of the game. They're just mistakes, and they make the game worse. Don't pretend a ref missing a call and perpetrating a (small) injustice is the rough-hewn artisanal edge of the game-object.

This is all by way of saying that baseball seems to be bullshit. I count roughly (I'm only human) 40 called strikes. Of those, about 16 seem to be outside the strike zone. Why even have an umpire? You'd get a better percentage with call-your-own. Because this is baseball, I'm sure someone has done the math, but I'd be interested to see how many balls get called strikes plotted against some sort of "star player" rating. I doubt the fifth man in the Reds rotation is getting Kershaw's percentage.


 

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Nevada

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.07.17

Nevada legislature passes legislation to make Medicaid available to all. Hopefully the governor signs it.

On Medicare vs. Medicaid:

In the wake of Trump's election, health policy experts have begun to explore whether it might make more sense to build a national health care system around Medicaid rather than Medicare.
"Medicaid is the better fit," Columbia University's Michael Sparer recently wrote at the New York Times. It has a more generous benefits package, is less costly and is developing more innovative care-management strategies. Moreover, the integration of the Obamacare exchanges into Medicaid would be relatively seamless: Many health plans are already in both markets.

Another perk for expanding Medicaid: if the saying goes "programs for the poor are poor programs", then expanding Medicaid to nonpoor people might improve funding for poor people currently served.

Also, it's funny/odd to me sometimes that Nevada and Arizona are such different places.


 

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So Interesting!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.07.17

So, any news? The Trumps divert money from kids with cancer, the former FBI director will detail the president's obstruction (without calling it obstruction), imminent war in the MIddle-East, terrorist attacks in Iran, and your printer is a tattletale. There are probably ten other things that could make the list. But what I was thinking this morning is that the people in Bend probably make "bend over again" jokes every time their taxes go up.


 

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Learn To Goad!

Posted by Ogged
on 06.06.17

I'm reading Hitler's American Model, which is a breezy but interesting look at how American race law influenced, if not inspired, Nazi race law, and just came across this character.

Omar Amin (born Johann von Leers; 25 January 1902 - 5 March 1965) was an Alter Kämpfer and an honorary Sturmbannführer in the Waffen SS in Nazi Germany, where he was also a professor known for his anti-Jewish polemics. He was one of the most important ideologues of the Third Reich, serving as a high-ranking propaganda ministry official. He later served in the Egyptian Information Department, as well as an advisor to Gamal Abdel Nasser. He published for Goebbels, in Peron's Argentina and for Nasser's Egypt. He converted to Islam, and changed his name to Omar Amin.

Churning out anti-Semitic propaganda was, apparently, the learn-to-code job security of the first half of the twentieth century.


 

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san francisco bay area meetup on saturday

Posted by Ben
on 06.05.17

Saturday 6/10, 6:30-8:30pm, Drake's Dealership. CharleyCarp. Minivet.


 

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Iran-Contra

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.05.17

I was too young to hear anything about Iran-Contra in real time, but I remember finding the whole thing astonishing as a teenager when it was explained to me. It just seemed so globally far-flung, and I was still getting used to the idea that CIA was a bastion of nefarious plots.

What was it like, at the time? What I'm specifically curious about is how the media covered it. Was it like Russian meddling last fall, where it was covered but only in overly-intellectual terms, bizarrely absent any emotional plea that a big outrageous thing was happening? Was it covered responsibly? Was it covered in a way where the average American was aware that it was a thing?

If Unfogged had been around, what would the Unfogged take have been?


 

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