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healthcare.gov opens at midnight on the day of the government shutdown and lambert finds a bug

[And if you have your own experiences to share, and especially screen dumps, please add them in comments or contact me. Either Federal Exchanges, or state exchanges. I'm especially interested in Covered California! Thank you! --lambert]

Nice timing.

john.smith@gmail.com from Maine had a registration #FAIL at step 3. Here's the screen dump:

Read below the fold...

Insider and hack David Flanagan now President of University of Southern Maine, Kalikow cashes in at "the system" for $200K

I don't have the time to do the takedown this sleazy maneuvering by our local notables deserves, so I'll just quote the highlights:

David Flanagan, a lifelong Mainer with deep ties to the state’s education, business and political communities, talked of “hardships and sacrifices” Wednesday as he took the reins as the interim president of the University of Southern Maine.

When you somebody sat that, you can bet one thing: The “hardships and sacrifices” will never, ever apply to them personally, or their friends, or their families, or anybody they know. Read below the fold...

Louis CK: "Being Broke"

Tweet of the day (2)

VT's Shumlin hires Jonathon Gruber to vet single payer funding proposals, for $400K

VT Digger:

Vermont has hired a policy architect of the Affordable Care Act as an economic consultant to help the Shumlin administration vet different single-payer financing scenarios.

Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will help Shumlin’s health care reform team understand how different tax structures will impact subsets of the population as they design a proposal to pay for a planned universal health care program.

Gruber is a veteran of health care economics and national health policy having served as technical adviser to the Obama administration and Congress as they designed the Affordable Care Act.

The contract is worth $400,000 and is expected to solidify the administration’s pitch to lawmakers when it presents its proposal to lawmakers in January.

The Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office recently signed its own more limited contract for economic simulations with Rand Corp.

I can't help seeing this as bad news. Read below the fold...

Looks like peak oil after all

Kevin Drum:

In just the past ten years, capital spending by major oil companies on exploration and extraction has tripled. And the result? Those same companies are producing less oil than they were in 2004. There's still new oil out there, but it's increasingly both expensive to get and expensive to refine.

(And all the hype to the contrary, the fracking revolution hasn't changed that. There's oil in those formations in Texas and North Dakota, but the wells only produce for a few years each and production costs are sky high compared to conventional oil.)

In a hypertechnical sense, the peak oil optimists were right: New technology has been able to keep global oil production growing longer than the pessimists thought. But, it turns out, not by much. Global oil production is growing very slowly; the cost of new oil is skyrocketing; the quality of new oil is mostly lousy; and we continue to bump up right against the edge of global demand, which means that even a small disruption in supply can send the world into an economic tailspin. So details aside, the pessimists continue to be right in practice even if they didn't predict the exact date we'd hit peak oil. It's long past time to get dead serious about finding renewable replacements on a very large scale.

Yes, market timing is hard, and by hard, we mean impossible. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

EU court says CIA ran "black site" at Stare Kiejkuty (and Corrente blast from the past in 2006)

Reuters:

The CIA ran a secret jail on Polish soil, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday, piling pressure on Poland, one of Washington's closest allies, to break its long silence about the global programme for detaining al Qaeda suspects.

The court said it had been established that the CIA used a facility in a northern Polish forest, code named "Quartz", as a hub in its network for interrogating suspected al Qaeda operatives rounded up after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. .....

Thursday's ruling was the first time that a court in Europe had said that the CIA operated one of the secret jails - often referred to as "black sites" -on the continent.

The court case was brought by lawyers for two men, Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah, and Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who are now both inmates at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. military's prison on Cuba.

They alleged they were flown in secret to a remote Polish airfield, then transferred to the CIA-facility near the village of Stare Kiejkuty where they were subject to treatment they said amounted to [was] torture. ...

The court found Poland violated its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights to prevent torture, ensure the right to liberty, and properly investigate allegations a crime had been committed on its territory.

The ruling from Strasbourg may have implications for other European states alleged to have hosted CIA prisons: similar cases have been lodged with the court in Strasbourg against Romania and Lithuania. ...

That I did not know.

The court ruling did not directly cover the United States, which is outside its jurisdiction. ...

Yes, that would be the Hague, where Bush and Obama should be dragged, in chains, whenever they leave the United States, just like Pinochet. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Happier morning glories

These morning glories want something to climb on!

And so herewith: Read below the fold...

In the garden: Maine monsoon

From the porch:

Impressive. Read below the fold...

Pentagon to send "advisors" to Ukraine

I hate to link to the Washington Times but:

A team of Pentagon officials is heading to Ukraine to help the country rebuild its fractured military, a mission that lawmakers and analysts expect will result in recommendations for greater military assistance [funding] in the country’s fight against pro-Russia separatists [funding] amid international outrage [funding] over the downing of a commercial airplane.

Read below the fold...

The Intercept publishes Obama's manual for pre-crime, otherwise known as "Watchlisting Guidance"

These people are out of their minds. Here's how a "nominator" puts you on the terraist watchlist. This is the actual government prose:

“To meet the REASONABLE SUSPICION standard, the NOMINATOR, based on the totality of the circumstances, must rely upon articulable intelligence or information which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrants a determination that an individual is known or suspected to be or has been knowingly engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to TERRORISM and/or TERRORIST ACTIVITIES.”

Shorter: If the nominator thinks it's a good idea. Maybe because they guys in the office were passing round some sex photos and wanted more. Read below the fold...

Andrew Cuomo is not only a horrible human being, he's corrupt

The Times, amazingly enough:

Mr. Cuomo said early on that the commission would be “totally independent” and free to pursue wrongdoing anywhere in state government, including in his own office. “Anything they want to look at, they can look at — me, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller, any senator, any assemblyman,” he said last August.

Great! Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Whoops. That's what the Democrats get for trying to out-pander the Republican on military issues. Read below the fold...

Ukraine and MH17: Villagers reported to have seen BUKs, US intelligence officials say a lot of stuff

The Guardian on the villagers:

Just before lunchtime last Thursday, prior to the Malaysia Airlines plane's takeoff, a Buk was driven through Gagarin Street, one of the central thoroughfares of Torez, witnesses said.

Torez would later be the town where bodies of the victims were loaded on to refrigerated train cars. The tarmac on Gagarin Street is strewn with ruts made by tank treads, and locals say armoured vehicles controlled by separatists driving through the town have become a regular occurrence in recent weeks. The convoy last Thursday was different, however.

"We were inside and heard a noise much louder than usual," said one shopkeeper, who did not want to be identified. "We came running out and saw a jeep disappearing into the distance with something much larger in front of it. Later, customers said it had been a missile carrier."

In another shop further down the street, there was talk of a convoy of two jeeps and a missile launcher covered in a net driving past in the direction of the town of Snizhne. "I've never seen anything like it," said a middle-aged woman. She said her husband showed her a photograph of a Buk launcher afterwards and she realised that was indeed what she had seen. A group of men also said they had seen a Buk.

There have been suggestions that the missile was fired from fields on the outskirts of Snizhne. Many in Torez did not want to speak about the Buk or claimed not to have heard anything about it. Others said the missile's journey through the town had been a talking point in recent days, but people were scared of divulging too much to outsiders. None of those who reported sightings of the Buk wanted their names published.

OK, actual reporting. That's progress. The story end this way: Read below the fold...

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