Patterico's Pontifications


Just 3 Little Questions…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:26 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The White House gleefully announced today that enrollment for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces is at 6 Million and Counting!

The surge is being attributed to the open enrollment period closing in just four days.

According to the White House, on Wednesday alone, received 1.5 million visits and 430,000 calls were made to its call centers.

In light of the surge and the administration’s goal being reached just four days before the deadline, certain questions have been raised. The Foundry neatly narrows them down.

1. Have they paid premiums?

Far more important than the number of people who have picked a plan is the number of people who have paid their premiums. Without paying the premium, they have not effectively gained insurance coverage. It is likely that there will be a significant portion who do not pay their premiums in time to gain coverage, meaning actual enrollment numbers will turn out to be lower.

2. How old are they?

The last detailed report released showed that the demographics weren’t adding up the way the Obama administration wanted. It had pegged the goal for the proportion of young adults (18-34) at 40 percent of total enrollees, and the latest report showed them accounting for only 27 percent.

3. What’s their health status?

This question is closely related to the age question. The reason young people are needed is because they are generally healthier than older people. They pay into the system with premiums but have relatively low medical claims, helping to balance out costs for insurers. Are the exchange enrollees the type of patients usually found in a high-risk pool, or are healthy people attracted to Obamacare, too?


The Wire on the Misleading Klein/Yglesias Voxsplainer on the Debt

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:46 am

The Wire addresses yesterday’s brouhaha over the misleading Ezra Klein/Matt Yglesias Voxsplainer that claimed:

The United States’s national debt is 12.5 trillion dollars.

The Wire cites criticisms by me and Erick Erickson.

Ezra Klein’s explanatory journalism website hasn’t officially launched yet, but that hasn’t prevented it from drawing the ire of conservative pundits, and the latest outrage – coming from right-wing bloggers Eri[c]k Erickson of RedState and Patterico – has Klein admitting the need for more explaining on his site. Which maybe isn’t the best sign.

. . . .

Yglesias gets into trouble a mere 5 seconds in. The video’s title card reads: “How scary is the US public debt?” but Yglesias says “national debt.” Conservatives were quick to point out that these are two different things. U.S. public debt refers to only debt held by the public, while the national debt encompasses all debt, adding in intergovernmental holdings, which is basically money the government owes itself. The issue is that the two measurements give you two different totals: $12.5 trillion and $17.5 trillion, respectively. Even though Yglesias says national debt, the video uses the $12.5 trillion figure to make its point.

The author of the Wire piece understands my argument a lot better than Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias pretend to:

Patterico makes the point that the only people who’d recognize the difference between public and national debt are people already familiar with the subject, and thus wouldn’t need the video’s basic explanation. Anyone in need of the kind of explanatory journalism Vox is looking to provide would simply assume the two are the same, since the video seems to use them interchangeably.

Yup, that is exactly my argument.

Which brings up a good question: just how effective (and ideological) is Vox’s explanatory journalism going to be? In an email to Patterico, Klein wrote, “If we did have an article we’d probably spend some time explaining the difference.”

Whether or not you think the video was misleading, the fact that Klein admits an explanation deficiency on an explanatory video doesn’t look great. Between this and the Nate Silver/Paul Krugman feud, the wunderkinds are finding the rollout is tougher than the startup.

By the way, in an effort to find out how intelligent but less informed people might view the video, I asked my children what they would think if a video said: “the United States’s national debt is $12.5 trillion” accompanied by a graphic that said: “debt held by the public: $12.5 trillion.” What would they actually think the U.S. national debt is, based on that? My son Matthew responded: “Isn’t it $17 trillion? That’s what it was two weeks ago.”

He’s 11.

That’s my boy!

Unfortunately, most twenty-somethings (and even older folks) these days lack the knowledge of current events possessed by my 11-year-old. Those are the people most likely to be misled by Yglesias’s false equation of debt held by the public and total debt.

Dem State Senator Who Allegedly Trafficked in Automatic Weapons and Missiles Favors . . . Gun Control

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:24 am

Of course.

The allegations against Leland Yee are . . . remarkable:

A California state senator has been arrested for promising shoulder-fired automatic weapons and missiles from a Muslim separatist group to an undercover FBI agent in exchange for campaign donations, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.

In San Francisco, FBI agents have charged California State Sen. Leland Yee with conspiracy to deal firearms and wire fraud. The allegations were outlined in an FBI affidavit against Yee and 25 others. The allegations against Yee include a number of favors he requested in exchange for campaign donations, as well as performing “official acts” in exchange for donations to get himself out of a $70,000 debt incurred during a failed San Francisco mayoral bid, according to court documents.

Yee discussed helping the undercover FBI agent get weapons worth $500,000 to $2.5 million, including shoulder-fired automatic weapons and missiles, and showed the agent the entire process of how to get those weapons from a Muslim separatist group in the Philippines into the United States, according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Emmanuel V. Pascua.

Yee favors gun control and closing loopholes in laws against assault weapons.

Hey, if you can pass laws that increase the demand for your product, why not, right?

The March Madness That Is Women’s History Month

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

Not to beat a dead nag, but this is certainly the month that keeps on giving. As previously posted here, Women’s History Month brought us Sheryl Sanford’s national Ban Bossy campaign, wherein the public was exhorted to stop using the other B-word, lest there be hurt feelings or worse… We also had the We Nag You, Because We Love You campaign. This is the one where the White House, celebrity moms, and even Mrs. Obama herself, assured us that it’s not only okay to nag and guilt adult children into signing up for Obamacare, but that it’s a moral imperative: If you love them, you will…

And now to round out the month, we have a Fat Justice and Feminism seminar hosted by Swarthmore College and presented by two feminist organizers, Cora Segal and Nicole Sullivan, who describes herself as an “angry, man-hating lesbian,”

What follows are points made by the speakers and recorded by an attendee. The attendee’s counters to speaker comments are bracketed. Accusations and topics discussed included everything from the inventor of the Body Mass Index (BMI) being a white supremacist; socialism and communism being a viable alternative to capitalism and exploitation; discrimination toward the small-breasted; and, as is inevitable, a conservative is at the root of this injustice. In this case, Ronald Regan has the honors. Seriously. (…which is not how women will be taken if this madness doesn’t stop)…

Body Mass Index (BMI) is an entirely erroneous and useless metric, as it was invented by a “white, male, French astronomer,” Adolphe Quetelet. Thus BMI has “direct links to a white supremacist, patriarchal, colonizing, exploitative force.” [Quetelet was actually a Belgian mathematician – but a man responsible for evilness of this degree merits having his experience diminished and inaccurately represented, fair representation of facts be damned].

We should stop celebrating the heroes of women’s suffrage, because they “threw everyone else under the bus” in the name of their own social prestige. Many first-wave feminists had ties to flapper culture, but, far from being courageous and rebellious young women demonstrating their fortitude and independence in a male-dominated social scene, the flappers of the 1920s ought to be chided for a style that de-emphasized their distinctly feminine attributes, as it somehow reflected poorly on larger women with large breasts.

For Segal and Sullivan, the 1960s and 1970s were notable because they welcomed “communism and socialism as viable alternatives to capitalism and exploitation.” [No mention was made of the large-scale human exploitation experienced in the Soviet Union and China during these exact decades under Communist regimes]

Ronald Reagan is partially responsible for all suffering of fat people, as he “f*cked everything up.” [No specific evidence about Reagan’s perverse policies or animosity toward obese people was offered.]

One of the main problems with the “war” against obesity is that doctors did not start addressing the issue as a major health crisis until the 1990s. This demonstrates that obesity was not a threat to American public health until lobbyists in the “medical-industrial complex” infiltrated every doctor’s office in the country.

“There is no scientific consensus whatsoever that fat people need to exercise more, or that fat is unhealthy. There is no evidence that [being] fat causes diabetes. Medical professionals are informed of this so-called knowledge by lobbying groups.” [A quick glance at virtually any reputable medical source such as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute lists demonstrates the increased risk to obese people of Coronary Heart Disease, Hypertension, Stroke, and a number of other life threatening conditions]

“Overweight people live longer. They’re better protected from heart disease.” [By using the term “overweight,” they skirted the fact that this does not apply to obese people; rather, it refers to those slightly overweight as opposed to extremely thin.]

Obese people who undergo gastric bypass surgery are “reduced to involuntary anorexia and bulimia.” Moreover, “every hospital in the country has a bariatric [surgery] unit.” Segal and Sullivan are also convinced that anesthesiologists lack the expertise to calculate anesthesia doses for larger patients and therefore purposely deny obese women’s access to late-term abortions by lying and saying they don’t have “enough anesthesia.”


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