Yawnies: Another Accusation Of "Sexist!"
Gregg used to joke that a woman who used to be in the LA writer/pundit circle, Moxie, is "just to the right of Genghis Khan.
Moxie was completely wonderful in my late friend Cathy Seipp's last moments, stroking her head and talking to her in the sweetest way, and was like a big sister to Cathy's daughter in the year or so that followed, and for these things I'll love her always.
But politically, we don't agree at all on a number of things. We could just duke it out and duke it out and duke it out and never change each other's mind.
But, as I used to joke, it was more productive for us to talk about shoes.
And yes, that really was my joke about us.
And now, that line in an ad for the DC Metro is the source of a brouhaha among the usual suspects -- Jezebellies, yawn, yawn, yawn -- crying "Sexism!"
Going back to Moxie, the truth is, we had many interesting conversations about things other than shoes -- including politics, education, and social issues. But when you have no hope of changing somebody's mind, sometimes it's unpleasant to spend the whole evening fighting futilely. So you look for things on which you have common ground.
The point is, it is necessarily not a sign of sexism to suggest that women should just talk about shoes or men should just, say, talk about baseball.
Sometimes, it's just a pass at a joke. Really.
And the ones this little brouhaha says the most about, really, are those who see sexism and horrible insults at every turn.
Really, is there anything that says you're small and unequal like the inability to take a joke?
A Free Speech Champion Speaks Freely: A Chat With Harvey Silverglate
Free speech champion Harvey Silverglate on his career in free speech, how the campus leftists he defended turned out to not be for free speech (just for their speech being defended), and on Harvard's free speech fakery.
Silverglate founded an organization I support -- theFIRE.org, which defends free speech violations on campus pro bono.
He says he is considered a right-winger by the left but he actually says he's a liberal -- but a "classic liberal": a civil liberties liberal.
I wish I shared his optimism, as he puts it at the end of the video, that "the modern PC university is gonna bite the dust."
Linky with a dog collar.
Who Gets The Friends In The Breakup Or The Divorce?
Ever had somebody demand that you stop being friends with their ex or soon-to-be-ex when their relationship broke up? What happened and how did you react?
Or...were you the person who made that request or demand? And if so, why?
And finally, is it justified or more justified if your ex was the one who broke up the relationship?
Plan On A Doctor Shortage
Acton Research Fellow Jonathan Witt writes in The American Spectator:
A curious feature of recent U.S. health care reform efforts -- easily overlooked amidst the daily media grind of canceled plans, crashing websites and new restrictions -- is the irrational belief that we can extend more health care to more Americans while rendering a career as a family physician increasingly unappealing.
...My brother-in-law Bruce Woodall, a physician who has worked stateside and in the developing world, gave me another way to understand this response. Those who go into family medicine, he said, often have an independent and entrepreneurial streak. They have visions of owning a family practice one day and aren't attracted to the idea of simply working for the government. But increasingly, that's what family medicine in the United States amounts to. The result is that an increasing number of physicians who can leave, do.
Self-interested alarm is a rational response to this trend, since we already face a physician shortage, but so too is moral outrage on behalf of physicians. Medical students work extraordinarily hard for years, risking enormous personal and financial capital to become professional healers. How has the political establishment responded to this courage, perseverance, and sacrifice? By subjecting the working lives of doctors to the regulatory whims of political insiders and bureaucrats.
Gloria Steinem Gets Presidential Medal For Helping Turn Feminism Toxic
Cathy Young, one of my favorite critics of what feminism has become, writes at Real Clear Politics about President Obama's award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to feminist icon Gloria Steinem last week:
Despite her undeniable talent and charisma, Steinem is practically a poster girl for the gender-war paranoia and the ideological dogmatism that have led the women's movement down such a destructive path.
How does Steinem represent modern feminism's worst features? Let me count the ways.
Dogmatic denial of sex differences. There is a perfectly legitimate argument (to which I myself am sympathetic) that male/female differences are culturally influenced and less important than individual differences. There is certainly widespread support for the loosening of traditional gender-based restrictions. But Steinem takes the anti-difference view to fanatical extremes of what dissident feminists Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge have dubbed "biodenial." In 1997, interviewed for John Stossel's ABC News special, "Boys and Girls Are Different: Men, Women and the Sex Difference," Steinem derided scientific research on sex differences in brain functioning as "anti-American crazy thinking." She also suggested that upper-body strength tests requiring firefighters to lift heavy loads were sexist. What about situations when firefighters have to carry injured or unconscious people out of burning buildings? Steinem insisted, with a straight face, that it was better to drag them, since "there's less smoke down there." While I thought the ABC special leaned too much toward generalizations about difference, Steinem made the worst possible spokesperson for the skeptics.
Fixation on male villainy. Like many in the sisterhood, Steinem does not let her belief in absolute equality interfere with a focus on men as perpetrators of violence and evil. In theory, she blames "the patriarchy," asserting that it has robbed men as well as women of full humanity; she has even said (rightly) that we won't have real equality until we recognize men's capacity for care and nurture just as we have recognized women's capacity for strength and achievement. Alas, actual, unreconstructed men usually appear in Steinem's writings as dangerous brutes.
In her 1992 book, Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Steinem writes, "The most dangerous situation for a woman is not an unknown man in the street, or even the enemy in wartime, but a husband or lover in the isolation of their own home." She has also touted the long-discredited notion of a long prehistoric period of peaceful, benevolent, egalitarian "gynocentric" societies later displaced by violent, oppressive male rule.
Other bits of her legacy on the list include junk scholarship, misinformation, the victimhood cult, contempt for free speech, and knee-jerk partisanship. Young continues:
Steinem is an undeniably talented and charismatic woman; her message is often couched in appealing terms of female empowerment, freedom, and basic fairness. But in practice, her advocacy promotes far less positive values. This is a Medal of Freedom recipient who has backed attacked on free speech and colluded in the imprisonment of innocent people.
If the President wanted to honor the feminist movement, a far better choice would have been a posthumous award to Feminine Mystique author Betty Friedan, who, whatever her flaws, rightly warned against embracing anti-male, anti-family ideologies that treat relations between the sexes as class warfare. Steinem is a class-warfare feminist. In honoring her, Obama signals the importance of organized feminism to the Democratic base -- but also boosting the notion that we are locked in a "war against women" in which the gender warriors are our last line of defense.
Therapist Brooke Donatone is seeing the helicopter-parented 20- and 30-somethings, and she's finding it common for them to be unprepared to be on their own or act as adults. An excerpt from her Slate piece:
Amy had mild depression growing up, and it worsened during freshman year of college when she moved from her parents' house to her dorm. It became increasingly difficult to balance school, socializing, laundry, and a part-time job. She finally had to dump the part-time job, was still unable to do laundry, and often stayed up until 2 a.m. trying to complete homework because she didn't know how to manage her time without her parents keeping track of her schedule.
I suggested finding a job after graduation, even if it's only temporary. She cried harder at this idea. "So, becoming an adult is just really scary for you?" I asked. "Yes," she sniffled.
Amy is 30 years old.
Her case is becoming the norm for twenty- to thirtysomethings I see in my office as a psychotherapist. I've had at least 100 college and grad students like Amy crying on my couch because breaching adulthood is too overwhelming.
In 2000, psychologist Jeff Arnet coined the term "emerging adolescence" to describe extended adolescence that delays adulthood. People in their 20s no longer view themselves as adults. There are various plausible reasons for this, including longer life spans, helicopter parenting, and fewer high paying jobs that allow new college grads to be financially independent at a young age.
I also find that kids don't want to live away from home, even if they can afford to. I, on the other hand, wanted to be on my own from the time I was in my early teens, and even before.
Independence -- of thought, action -- really seems to be missing in a lot of kids.
And I'm not one of those "Kids these days...!" types. I do think there's a change and much of it has to do with how overscheduled, overly programmed and helicopter-parented kids are.
When I was 8, I used to just run down the street to the park, play in the creek and around the place, and come home at dinner time. Now, allowing your kid to do this is called "child endangerment."
I would have sold my grandmother into slavery for one during The Bulgar Wheat Years, as a friend refers to my childhood.
The GOP's "Anger Entrepreneurs"
Via @WalterOlson, there are those on the political right who, as he put it, would "rather keep their perpetual fund-raising machine oiled than actually win elections."
John Podhoretz and Michael Medved write in Commentary, "A GOP Civil War -- Who Benefits?":
Many of these Anger Entrepreneurs on the right mine their gold in the negative emotions of conservatives who are having grave difficulty making sense of a world in which almost everyone they know dislikes liberalism and despises Obama but in which liberals and Obama seem to have the upper hand. The answer seducing all too many of them is that their cause has been sabotaged from within and that the best route to greater success lies in removing the saboteurs.
The rewards for marketing a successful message can be vast. Last year, a fight inside the conservative organization FreedomWorks led to the departure of its chairman, former Representative Dick Armey. He was bought out with an astounding $8 million handshake--from a grassroots group formerly known as Citizens for a Sound Economy dedicated to fiscal prudence and the promotion of ideas. With the departure of Armey, an experienced political hand, FreedomWorks broke free to dedicate itself in 2013 to threatening Republicans who did not support the effort to shut down the government.
Perhaps the greatest example of the growing power of this outside entrepreneurship came this year when South Carolina firebrand Jim DeMint resigned from his Senate seat to take over as head of the Heritage Foundation and its recently organized political arm, Heritage Action. With Heritage Action's extraordinarily aggressive advocacy of the argument that the only acceptable vote for a conservative to take in September 2013 was the immediate and total defunding of ObamaCare, DeMint showed he could be far more influential outside the realm of electoral politics than he ever had been within it.
And what DeMint and his fellow activists insisted upon meant certain defeat. Perhaps they honestly believed along with Cruz and Lee that there would be a national uprising against ObamaCare (before its disastrous implementation began) that would force Democratic senators from Republican-voting states to withdraw their support and vote to destroy it perhaps with enough new recruits to the cause to override the president's promised veto. But once it became clear that this was a fantasy and some 22 Democratic senators would never turn against ObamaCare, and there would be no defunding, they refused to abandon their infatuation with glorious martyrdom. You proved your loyalty and fealty to conservative principles only if you agreed to go down with the ship.
...Republicans will win meaningful victories only when they lose their appetite for martyrdom and fratricide and concentrate on forcing the other side to pay a political price for its own incompetent performance and dysfunctional ideology. Most Republicans, as the history of the last 40 years demonstrates, want precisely that. The question now is whether this real majority will be overrun. If that happens, the truest beneficiary of the intra-Republican civil war will be the Democratic Party, and those who divided the right will deserve some share of the blame for the advancement of the very policies and principles they claim to abhor.
Also, I believe Republicans keep many libertarians from voting for them by adhering to social conservatism instead of simply being for free markets and small government -- conservatism that entails not trying to control others at every turn.
The President Who Never Ran Anything Beyond Words Across A Page
Peggy Noonan blogs in the WSJ about why Obama was so credulous -- so quick to believe everything would be rosy with vast healthcare changes -- when it is, as she writes, "a leader's job to be skeptical of grand schemes":
And this president wasn't. I think part of the reason he wasn't careful is because he sort of lives in words. That's been his whole professional life--books, speeches. Say something and it magically exists as something said, and if it's been said and publicized it must be real. He never had to push a lever, see the machine not respond, puzzle it out and fix it. It's all been pretty abstract for him, not concrete. He never had to stock a store, run a sale and see lots of people come but the expenses turn out to be larger than you'd expected and the profits smaller, and you have to figure out what went wrong and do better next time.
People say Mr. Obama never had to run anything, but it may be more important that he never worked for the guy who had to run something, and things got fouled up along the way and he had to turn it around. He never had to meet a payroll, never knew that stress. He probably never had to buy insurance! And you know, his policies were probably gold-plated--at the law firm, through his wife's considerable hospital job, in the Illinois Legislature, in the U.S. Senate. Those guys know how to take care of themselves! Maybe he felt guilty. Maybe that's to his credit, knowing he was lucky. Too bad he didn't know what he didn't know, like how every part has to work for a complicated machine to work.
Here I will say something harsh, and it's connected to the thing about words but also images.
From what I have seen the administration is full of young people who've seen the movie but not read the book. They act bright, they know the reference, they're credentialed. But they've only seen the movie about, say, the Cuban missile crisis, and then they get into a foreign-policy question and they're seeing movies in their heads. They haven't read the histories, the texts, which carry more information, more texture, data and subtlety, and different points of view. They've only seen the movie--the Cubans had the missiles and Jack said "Not another war" and Bobby said "Pearl Harbor in reverse" and dreadful old Curtis LeMay chomped his cigar and said "We can fry a million of 'em by this afternoon, Mr. President." Grrr, grrr, good guys beat bad guys.
His problem right now, she notes, is that people think he's smart, sophisticated, in command, and aware of "pitfalls and complexities." And thus...to blame.
Dog Baths -- Oh, The Indignity
Loved the photos (about "the indignity of canine bath time") posted at The Week by Lauren Hansen.
Those shot were taken by dog photographer Sophie Gamand in collaboration with groomer and pet stylist Ruben Santana. See more of Gamand's porfolio at strikingpaws.com. (Loved the bottom left one on her DogVogue page. She looks like a lady who lunches from the 20s.)
I don't have any bathtime photos of Aida, but here's a post-bath shot:
The House On TSA: Never Mind The Constitution. Fight Like Hell For Loose Change.
The loser Congressturds have fought for something truly important -- how to dispense the loose change the TSA is left with after doing an administrative end run around our constitutional rights.
Oliver Knox writes at Yahoo:
Show your boarding pass. Hand over your ID. Take off your shoes. And your belt. And empty your pockets. Liquids in the baggie, laptops in the bin. Stand still for the scanner. Now leave $531,395.22 in cash at the TSA checkpoint.
That's how much money forgetful passengers left in Transportation Security Administration's plastic bins in fiscal year 2012 -- a windfall the agency uses to supplement its aviation security budget. For now.
The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to redirect that mountain of pocket change to the United Service Organizations (USO), which supports U.S. military troops.
"The TSA has been keeping the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters from your change purse to pay for their bloated bureaucracy," said Rep. Jeff Miller, R.-Fla., the measure's chief author. "If TSA representatives get to play 'finders keepers' with your hard-earned cash, what's the incentive to try to get the loose change to its rightful owners?"
Brave legislator Miller! You go, guy!
What's next, a bill to say teddy bears are cuddly?
Obama Admin Wants To Give Big Bailout To Health Insurers
The "Affordable" Care Act? Really? Affordable for whom?
There's a piece reported by Robert Pear in The New York Times with the headline "Insurers Are Offered Assistance For Losses." That's coded language for taxpayers are going to be paying big for the Leviathon fuckup that is Obamacare:
Facing a political furor over the cancellation of insurance policies, Mr. Obama announced on Nov. 14 that he would temporarily waive some requirements of the new federal law and allow insurers to renew "current policies for current enrollees" for a year.
Insurers criticized the president's move, saying it could upset the assumptions on which they had set premiums for new insurance products providing coverage in 2014.
Many people with serious illnesses were excluded from the old policies. As a result, the administration said, people on those policies may be healthier than average.
If they do not enroll in the new health plans, the administration said, the average cost of claims for people in those plans may be higher than expected, and this increase in costs could lead to unexpected financial losses for insurance companies.
To reduce this risk, the administration said it could provide financial assistance to certain insurers through a program under which the government will share in their losses and profits for the next three years.
Any such assistance would come on top of federal subsidies that the government plans to pay insurers to make coverage more affordable for low- and middle-income people under the new law. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that those subsidy payments will exceed $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
The administration said it could not immediately determine the cost of the assistance for insurers because it did not know how many people would stay in existing plans or how many would decide to enroll in new policies that provide additional benefits and consumer protections, as required by the 2010 health law.
Morons On Tour
From the WSJ:
Thinking of taking a holiday in forbidden North Korea so that you can one-up your friends who spent two weeks in exotic Bhutan? The best advice: Don't.
That's a lesson being learned the hard way by Merrill Newman, a retired executive from California who visited North Korea in October for what was supposed to be a 10-day tour. Instead, the 85-year old Korean War vet was yanked off a plane and has been detained in a Pyongyang hotel for more than a month. State media recently released a video of Mr. Newman reading from a four-page statement in stilted English. "I have been guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against DPRK and Korean people," it read. "Please forgive me."
The Democratic People's Republic is also holding Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour-company operator taken prisoner by the North last year and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in April on accusations of committing "hostile [and religious] acts to bring down the government." He has lost some 50 pounds and required hospitalization.
Apparently, there are still people who believe that being American is some sort of magic fairy wand against all ills. Thanks, pay for your own way out of North Korea, and we'll wave to you when you're back.
Like hipsters, but without all the hideous 70s attire.
"Millennials Must Move Beyond #HandsOffMyBirthControl To #HandsOffMyHealthInsurance"
I have said over and over that it is idiotic that, in an age when most people stay in jobs only a short time, not the old gold watch-time, that we still link employment and insurance.
It is by paying out of pocket, independently, for my own insurance for 20-plus years that I have maintained a consistent provider and have been credited for all the years I've paid in.
Cathy Reisenwitz writes at Forbes that people could afford both health insurance and birth control if we were allowed actual markets for them:
When ObamaCare mandated that all insurance plans cover birth control, it created a situation devoid of good options. Forcing religious business owners to choose such plans clearly violates their religious liberty. Forcing women who work at such businesses to pay out of pocket for birth control while they pay for plans which cover Viagra is grossly unfair.
Millennials get this fundamental unfairness, which may be why most of them do not believe that an employer's personal religious beliefs should affect their access to birth control. One poll found that 62 percent of Millennials believe religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception or birth control at no cost.
But it's important for Millennials to look at the bigger picture. The ObamaCare birth control mandate creates an us-versus-them situation exactly because it exacerbates a more fundamental flaw in the American health insurance market. Namely, that there isn't one.
The first impediment to a true market in health insurance is the link between employment and insurance. This is a totally artificial, government-created link which has way outlived its utility. If people chose their health insurance themselves, they could decide whether to get a plan which covers birth control. Delinking the two would be as simple as a few changes to the tax code. But ObamaCare does not address this issue.
ObamaCare was supposed to help delink the two by offering unemployed people affordable health insurance plans. The problem there is actually the second way ObamaCare impedes a market for health insurance. By outlawing high-deductible, catastrophic care plans, it makes exactly the kinds of plans Millennials need most illegal. The last thing anyone needs when chronically under- and unemployed is to pay for insurance which covers breast implants. But under ObamaCare, there's no avoiding it. You are either covered with an extremely expansive plan, or you're paying the fine and going without insurance at all.
It's also illegal to shop across state lines for insurance, which Reisenwitz points out is "a law with no utility."
Spam Arrest: Um, No
A professional photographer I know from around town wrote me wanting to take pictures of me, free of charge. I'm thinking there must be a catch, but I don't know -- and won't know -- because I got this bullshit anti-spam thing from Spam Arrest that I am for sure not filling out and sending back.
The bit they want you to sign -- note the $2,000 part:
SENDER AGREEMENT - By clicking the "VERIFY" button above, and in consideration for Spam Arrest, LLC forwarding your e-mail (and any e-mails you may send in the future) to the intended recipient (the "Recipient"), you agree to be bound by the following Sender Agreement:
You represent and warrant to Spam Arrest and the Recipient that any e-mail you desire to send to the Recipient is not "unsolicited commercial e-mail" i.e., the e-mail does not primarily contain an advertisement or promotion of a commercial product, service or Web site; unless the Recipient expressly consented to receive the message, either in response to a clear and conspicuous request for such consent or at the Recipient's own initiative. Further, you represent and warrant that your transmission of any e-mail does not violate any local, state or federal law governing the transmission of unsolicited commercial e-mail, including, but not limited to, RCW § 19.190.020 or the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. You understand and acknowledge that it is fair and reasonable that you agree to abide by the restrictions set forth in this agreement. You acknowledge and agree that this agreement is central to Spam Arrest's decision to forward your e-mails to the Recipient. Accordingly, if you violate this agreement, Spam Arrest and the Recipient shall be entitled to (1) temporary and/or permanent injunctive relief to restrain any further breaches or violations of this agreement; and (2) damages in the amount of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for each violation of this agreement. You acknowledge that such remedies are appropriate and reasonable in light of the costs and expenses Spam Arrest incurs as a result of eradicating and filtering unsolicited commercial e-mail. You acknowledge that the $2000.00 remedy is a reasonable estimate of Spam Arrest's and the Recipient's actual damages. This agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Washington and the exclusive venue for any action related to this agreement shall be held in the state and federal courts located in Washington. You hereby waive any right to object to venue or jurisdiction based on inconvenient forum, lack of personal jurisdiction or for any other reason.
Two words: Fuck you.
A few more words: You want to get a reply from me, whitelist me, buttwad.
Spam Arrest might block "100 percent of spam," but probably blocks a good percentage of mail from people like me who actually read the shit they're signing.
And P.S. A judge said Spam Arrest's "$2,000 liquidated damages provision is invalid."
A Ryan Calo tweet:
BREAKING: Etsy to begin delivering packages by barn owl.
I nap, therefore I am.
Democrats And Republicans Come Together To Screw The Middle Class And Rebuild Rich People's Mansions
If David Geffen's beach house gets washed away, I think it should be David Geffen's insurance rate that covers the cost, not the tax dollars of some middle-class family in Van Nuys (among others).
But a bipartisan caucus wants to keep the flood plain subsidies flowing, says an editorial in the WSJ:
Federal flood insurance is a classic example of powerful government aiding the powerful, encouraging the affluent to build mansions near the shore. Congress finally had the gumption to reform the program in 2012, but now the beachfront homeowner and housing lobbies are trying to reverse this progress.
National flood insurance is a 1960s-era program that had its finances blown sideways by Hurricane Katrina and again by Hurricane Sandy last year. The program is $24 billion in the red, with $350 million cash on hand and a $6.4 billion credit line--on $1.3 trillion of insurance in force. But thanks to the bipartisan Biggert-Waters reform signed by President Obama in July 2012, the federal insurer is slowly raising its rates to actuarially sound levels.
That's been a shock to the affluent beachcombers who are accustomed to artificially cheap insurance. Businesses, vacation homes and homes with "repetitive" flood losses will see rates rise 25% a year until those "rates reflect true risk," according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the federal insurance program. About 20% of the national insurer's 5.5 million policyholders will be affected.
Cue the caterwauling from the 1% and their elected representatives. In June the House voted 281-146 to delay premium increases for a year, a turnaround from the 406-22 vote that passed Biggert-Waters only a year ago. California Democrat Maxine Waters is protesting that she didn't know what was in the law that bears her name--which seems plausible to those who have followed her career. She'd like more Americans to build homes in flood zones and have poor Americans pick up the tab when insurance premiums don't cover losses.
Republicans, too, want a reform rollback. Phooey.
Want an ocean view? You pay when the ocean meets your bedroom, or at least pay for the insurance that will.
Hampshire College Sex Blog: Best Not To Use The Word "Women"
The question and the beginning of the answer:
Anonymous asked: How do you recommend women keep their genitals fresh and clean without any unnatural products?
Great question! First, we'd like to quickly address the language of saying "women" instead of "female-bodied people:" not everyone who identifies as a woman has a vagina/vulva.
Do You Think Women Demonize Male Sexuality?
Men are highly visual and variety-driven. Men want to have sex with you, your sister, the grocery clerk with the little pinkish brown mole between her breasts.
Female sexuality is different. Women don't want to have sex with strangers, for example, and aren't turned on by mere parts.
I see a demonization of male sexuality, and think the notion many women have -- that it's wrong, not just different -- has at least some underpinnings in feminism.
"Men are pigs!"? Really? Why?
How Obamacare Limits Medical Choice
Excerpt from a WSJ editorial:
Even as President Obama reluctantly granted Americans thrown off their health plans quasi-permission to possibly keep them, he called them "the folks who, over time, I think, are going to find that the marketplaces are better." He means the ObamaCare exchanges that are replacing the private insurance market, adding that "it's important that we don't pretend that somehow that's a place worth going back to."
Easy for him to say. The reason this furor will continue even if the website is fixed is that the public is learning that ObamaCare's insurance costs more in return for worse coverage.
Mr. Obama and his liberal allies call the old plans "substandard," but he doesn't mean from the perspective of the consumers who bought them. He means people were free to choose insurance that wasn't designed to serve his social equity and income redistribution goals. In his view, many people must pay first-class fares for coach seats so others can pay less and receive extra benefits.
...Meanwhile, ObamaCare's plans are limited to essentially four. Yes, four. The law converts insurance products on the ObamaCare exchanges into interchangeable commodities that finance the same standard benefit at the same average expense over four tiers known as bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
So, for example, a bronze plan covers 60% of health-care expenses and the beneficiary pays a lower premium to pick up the remaining 40% out of pocket. Platinum carries a higher premium for a 90%-10% split. But there can be little deviation from the formulas--that is, there is little room for innovation or policy choice--to suit customer preferences.
In any case all four tiers are scrap-metal grade, because the rules ObamaCare imposes to create a supposedly superior insurance product are resulting in an objectively inferior medical product. The new mandates and rules raise costs, so insurers must compensate by offering narrow and less costly networks of doctors, hospitals and other providers in their ObamaCare products. Insurers thus restrict care and patient choice of physicians in exchange for discounted reimbursement rates, much as Medicaid does.
Coat me with links.
Cyber Monday Deals
Thank you so much, everybody who's been buying through my links. This helps support this site and keep my lights on, and it's much-appreciated.
Here's a general search you can use any time -- Amy's Amazon Search Window -- to give me a little kickback for your purchases that ultimately costs you nothing!
Advice Goddess Radio, "Best Of" Replay, Tonight, 7-8pm PT: Dr. Carl Alasko On Blame -- Why It's Toxic And How To Actually Resolve Conflict
Amy Alkon's Advice Goddess Radio: "Nerd Your Way To A Better Life!" with the best brains in therapy and research.
*Thanksgiving weekend "Best-Of" replay on a topic we can all use some help and insight on -- blame: How ineffective it is, how damaging it is, and how to stop blaming and be constructive in getting ourselves and others to change. Back with a live show next week!
My guest tonight is psychotherapist Carl Alasko, Ph.D., talking about blame -- one of the most toxic and destructive components of relationships and so many human interactions.
We'll be talking about how to stop blaming and how to take healthier -- and far more productive -- steps to problem-solving, in relationships and beyond.
Alasko has written a very comprehensive book on blame -- Beyond Blame: Freeing Yourself from the Most Toxic Form of Emotional Bullsh*t.
Listen at this link from 7-8 pm Pacific, 10-11 pm Eastern, or download the podcast afterward:
Don't miss last week's show with Dr. Edward L. Deci on how to be self-motivated and best motivate others.
Many people seem to think that the most effective motivation comes from outside of us, that motivating is something one person does to or for another. The studies done by my guest tonight, psychologist Dr. Edward L. Deci, find that self-motivation, not external motivation, is at the heart of creativity, responsibility, healthy behavior, and lasting change.
This is essential to understand whether we are trying to motivate ourselves or looking to encourage others to successfully motivate themselves.
On tonight's show, Dr. Deci will tell us what research shows about we go wrong in our thinking on motivation and how we can become more self-motivated -- and thus happier and more successful in every aspect of our lives.
Dr. Deci's book we discuss on the show is Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation.
Listen at this link or download the podcast:
Join me and my fascinating guests every Sunday, 7-8 p.m. Pacific Time, 10-11 p.m. Eastern Time, at blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.
That Viral "Poverty Thoughts" Essay Is "Tragically Fictional"
The woman who wrote it has merely imagined what it's like to be in poverty and is using her imaginings to wring tears and cash from the gullible on the Internet, writes Angelica Leicht in the Houston Press:
There are times when the good deeds that happen by the magic of the Internet make us quite giddy. This time? Well, this time they make us cringe, to the tune of $100,000.
If you haven't read the "insightful" personal narrative that recently went viral, "Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or poverty thoughts," there's a good chance it's somewhere on your Facebook news feed. This thing is everywhere.
The essay, which is being touted as a poignant look at the "terrible" decision-making processes of the poor, is the product of writer Linda Walther Tirado's personal experience with poverty. Linda, a married mother of two, speaks of having to live in seedy motels, where there are roaches that she stabs with toothpicks. She can't cook for her family because she lacks a kitchen, and she's afraid of attracting more roaches, so they survive on junk food in said seedy motel.
Oh, and not only does Linda say she's living in seedy motels and stabbing roaches, but she's also working two jobs, taking a full load of college courses, and is banished to a life as a cook in the "back of the house" at a restaurant, as she is deemed too unsightly as a waitress -- or apparently a legal secretary -- due to an unfortunate set of teeth. She's in desperate need of dental work, and her body is full of infection, but she can't afford to spend the money on medical or dental care. It's a tragic, tragic story.
It's also tragically fictional.
You see, Linda Walther Tirado, or "KillerMartinis," as she's known on her Kinja screen name, wrote this brain-grating essay, and it's all about being subjected to the pitfalls of poverty. Linda's not actually poor, though, nor was she raised in what most would describe as poverty. Unless you consider a boarding school education as a marker for poverty, anyway.
The inferences on what it's like to be poor -- from the roach-infested living quarters to the lack of wholesome food -- would almost be laughable, if they weren't such freakin' gross stereotypes written by a person who has never experienced true poverty. That little fact takes it from laughable to infuriating.
What's also infuriating is that Linda -- who is panhandling for $100,000 worth of donations on GoFundMe -- wrote this piece, and the comments and rebuttals to it, while masquerading as a "poor person," but has now decided to clean up the mess by copping to her past as a person from a much different background.
One who went to private schools, owns a home, works as a freelance political consulted, is married to a Marine, has met President Obama, and taken some lovely vacations.
Here, from her blog:
I started kindergarten a year early. I went to an exclusive private school where we didn't have grade levels. They grouped us by age and we had workbooks in different subjects depending on our ability level. When my parents transferred me to a closer school with normal grades, they put me in fourth grade. I was seven. They wanted to put me into fifth grade, but my parents thought it would be too difficult for me socially.
...I had private music lessons from the age of four. I was an award-winning singer, piano, and flute player by seven. I owned twenty-three instruments when I was twelve. I toured Europe as a featured soprano the summer after I graduated high school.
Boohoo, huh? Send wet Kleenex and money.
TSA Rolls Out Detention Pods At Airport Exits
These exit pods briefly detain passengers as they're leaving the airport. They cost $60 million of our tax dollars at the Syracuse airport, though a spokeswoman claims they will save money on police at airport exits. How making people wait to leave makes us safer, someone please tell me. (In fact, these would seem to endanger people in the case of a need to leave the airport fast, as Lisa Simeone points out below:
From the Daily Mail:
"We need to be vigilant and maintain high security protocol at all times. These portals were designed and approved by TSA which is important," said Syracuse Airport Commissioner Christina Callahan.
Lisa Simeone comments at TSANewsBlog:
Ah, yes, because you never know when someone is leaving the "sterile area" loaded with explosives and, not satisfied with detonating a plane in mid-flight, wants to blow up the parking garage instead.
Apparently these things were installed so that the TSA wouldn't have to staff the exits. And, of course, because somebody -- the manufacturer -- is making big bucks off them. As always with so-called homeland so-called security, follow the money.
But the first thing I thought of was, what if you get trapped inside? What if your bag doesn't fit and you get stuck? (Watch the video.) What if there's an emergency at the airport and you have to get out quickly? You can't, because these things let so few people at a time through. They're not like subway turnstiles, which are mechanical, and which, of course, you could always jump over. These are electronic. Which means they can be prone to failure. What if there are a lot of planes landing at once and a crowd forms at the portals? Then you have to wait in line to get out.
Well, why not? You have to wait in line to get bullied and groped by the TSA when you're entering the airport, why shouldn't you also be inconvenienced when you leave? Gives the whole experience a nice symmetry.
This is about the money. As commenter David Gilmore wrote at TSANewsBlog:
What a waste of money. Some contractor was masterful at manipulating the government to get a contract using their own language. TSA approved. wehooo.
This seems to mean nobody can ever pick you up at baggage claim again, help you with your luggage. What if you're a little old lady in a wheelchair?
How Many People A Year Die From Terrorism In The US?
There's a poster up about terrorism that points out an important statistic -- that for the last five years for which data is available, 4.6 Americans per year died from domestic terrorism attacks:
American media and elected officials talk about the threat of terrorism daily. In the last decade, the threat of terrorism has been used to justify special exemptions from the Constitution, invasions of other countries, secret surveillance laws, monitoring of innocent people with no reasonable cause for suspicion, and continuous budget deficits, as vast sums of money go to fund the military and surveillance apparatus.
When examined, the actual death toll from terrorism in the United States is astonishingly small. In the last 5 years for which data is available, an average of 4.6 Americans per year died from domestic terrorist attacks. And when we look at the publicly known terrorist attacks that have been thwarted, we see that they were small in number, limited in destructive capacity, and in a majority of cases, would probably have never come to fruition on their own.
How likely are terrorists to launch some devastating attack?
Conventional weapons, like bombs or guns, are naturally limited in their potential to take human life, barring having an army of people to use them. Given that there are approximately 16,000 homicides per year in the United States, it's hard to make an argument that conventional terrorist attacks, currently averaging 162 deaths per year (when 9/11 is included), should give rise to spectacularly large expenditures or sacrifice of freedom.
While there's no evidence that terrorists have any potential to attain them, more dangerous are chemical and biological weapons. In theory, certain chemical and biological weapons could kill thousands in a single very successful attack, though the Rand corporation writes, "the resources and capabilities required to annihilate large numbers of persons--i.e., to achieve a genuinely mass-casualty chemical and biological weapon or nuclear/radiological device--appear, at least for now, to be beyond the reach not only of the vast majority of existent terrorist organizations but also of many established nation-states."
They point out as I have:
Given the astonishingly small risk of terrorism to American lives, and the fact that most of the responses to it don't even seem to target the real dangers of this phenomena, it doesn't take a huge leap to make the argument that the real purpose of the "war on terror" is not saving lives, but rather providing a wide-ranging and never-ending justification for a whole range of regressive policies. By invoking terrorism, the government has justified wholesale invasions of other countries, a massive stripping away of our basic liberties, and shifting money to military contractors and away from things that threaten human life on a huge scale.
We all need to care about this and speak up against it. Too few of us are now, and this is why the encroachment on our civil liberties -- and on numerous fronts -- marches on.
Related: "Accidentally Revealed Document Shows TSA Doesn't Think Terrorists Are Plotting To Attack Airplanes," posts Mike Masnick. He quotes a TSA statement from one of their documents from heroic Jonathan Corbett's lawsuit (from a classified document a bumbling 11th Circuit Court clerk forgot to file under seal):
"As of mid-2011, terrorist threat groups present in the Homeland are not known to be actively plotting against civil aviation targets or airports; instead, their focus is on fundraising, recruiting, and propagandizing."
Hey, but let's keep up that Security Puppet Show. Think of all those unskilled workers in police-like costumes feeling your coochie in the name of security who would otherwise be unemployed! Think of how rolling back the "security theater" would roll back the roll-back of our civil liberties -- if just a little. Can't be having Americans having their constitutional rights respected. We've gone so far in the other direction!
Learning About "Tax-Incidence"
Via OldWhig, who tweets as @aClassicLiberal, I came to this blog post by A Very British Dude, with the term "tax-incidence":
Lefties often reject widely accepted economic concepts like tax-incidence, the idea that the economic burden of a tax doesn't always fall on those writing the cheque. If corporation tax was abolished, some of the extra money would go to shareholders who pay CGT and income tax on dividends (at a slightly lower rate), however much would go to customers in the form of lower prices (does anyone argue that the mobile phone market isn't competitive?) with the money spent (and taxed elsewhere) or workers in the form of higher wages, resulting in a much higher rate of tax.