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Here we go. Budded forsythia in the garden:

So I missed a horrible winter -- the house didn't make a dime during my absence,* because fuel ate up everything after I insulated the attic! -- but and so now spring is on the way. Yay! Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Paul Krugman's TINA hackery on single payer becomes floridly delusional

Get a load of this:

And as Sahil Kapur reports, at least a few of them are coming to a terrible realization: there is no alternative [TINA]. You can’t just support the popular pieces of reform, in particular coverage for preexisting conditions, and scrap the rest. As Jonathan Gruber taught me, and I and others have said many times, reform is a three-legged stool that requires community rating, the individual mandate, and subsidies; take away any leg and it collapses. And Kapur finds a GOP aide who admits to the awful truth: any workable GOP plan would look pretty much the same as Obamacare.

There is an alternative, even for Republicans: Read below the fold...

I have an answer for Paul Krugman's question!

Paul Krugman:

But here’s the thing: the lived experience is that this effect is not, in fact, symmetric between liberals and conservatives. Yes, liberals are sometimes subject to bouts of wishful thinking. But can anyone point to a liberal equivalent of conservative denial of climate change, or the “unskewing” mania late in the 2012 campaign, or the frantic efforts to deny that Obamacare is in fact covering a lot of previously uninsured Americans? I don’t mean liberals taking positions you personally disagree with — I mean examples of overwhelming rejection of something that shouldn’t even be in dispute.

Yes. Read below the fold...


This is really neat.

Hasty lessons from my visit to Thailand....

.... while I'm still transitioning in Boston on my way up to Maine, from (JFK (Taipei (Bangkok)) after my flight was cancelled! (Getting rerouted was a paper-based process; the highlight came when the incredibly conscientious trainee desk agent actually used a ruler and a pen to cross out inapplicable options on the voucher for my new flight, while their supervisor frequently consulted a small notebook full of handwritten notes. Then they gave me a hotel voucher and walked me to the hotel shuttle bus and performed a physical handoff; this last very different from America, where I'm guessing they'd hand you the voucher, period. "You're on your own, kid!" I was grateful, since by that time I was already stunned with exhaustion.) OK, trivial and not-so-trivial lessons while the experience is still fresh:

1) I'm 6'2"; most Thais are not, so me banging my head on stuff was the running gag. ("We look up to them. Because they're tall.") Sometimes, I'd bang on doorway -- pause to find diagram of the parts of a door -- headers, but more often on the -- pause, again -- handrails of BTS cars. It's a new experience for me to have to stand up straight so the blood stays pooled on the top of my skull. I'm not sure what lesson is involved here, except striving for good posture. Wear a hat? Don't cut my hair too short? Don't rush, especially for a subway seat? Don't be Lurch-like? Read below the fold...

"Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy"

Naomi Wolf in the Guardian. Except the story is actually a lot worse than the headline:

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens. Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: NEJM: ObamaCare delays "appear to exceed the traditional scope of the President's enforcement discretion"

Shorter: They're illegal.* The New England Journal of Medicine, the gold standard:

The Legality of Delaying Key Elements of the ACA
In the administration's view, the delays are a routine exercise of the executive branch's traditional discretion to choose when and how to enforce the law. As the Supreme Court noted in its 1985 decision in Heckler v. Chaney, 1 an executive agency “generally cannot act against each technical violation of the statute it is charged with enforcing.”

Read below the fold...

Start practicing this phrase: "Legitimacy crisis"

Here's an interesting Op-Ed from (of all places) the Providence Journal. Let me start at the end, with the author's qualifications:

David Carlin, a former majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate, is a professor of philosophy and sociology at Community College of Rhode Island.

So, not some goateed hipster doing posters at RISD (not that there's anything wrong with that) before going on to a career in design. This is the kind of guy who gives talks at Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. Here's what he had to say that's key: Read below the fold...

The 0.01% are even screwing the 1%

"Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl"

The Economist's view of 21st century statecraft. The context is the idea that what we see is the "resolution" of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: The vicious boot of the suburban-scale, two-bit, penny-ante Israeli empire on the neck of the suffering Palestinian people and their corrupt, comprador authorities, forever. This is it. This is as good as it gets.

Heck, the world is seeing more and more long-term low-level conflicts between rich, technologically advanced societies and poor, uneducated ones, all along the global borders between north and south. In a few decades, the watchtowers along the West Bank's separation wall may merge with the helicopters hovering over the US-Mexican border, the rubber bullets knocking African refugees off the barbed-wire fences in the Spanish enclave of Melilla, the South African police picking up Zimbabwean migrants and the Australian Navy ships dragging Indonesian boats back towards Sumatra. It will all look like one endless string of flashpoints, up and down the line.

Well, maybe. Read below the fold...

James Galbraith's incredibly lucid review of Piketty's book, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"

There are the nut graphs IMSHO:

What is “capital”? To Karl Marx, it was a social, political, and legal category—the means of control of the means of production by the dominant class. Capital could be money, it could be machines; it could be fixed and it could be variable. But the essence of capital was neither physical nor financial. It was the power that capital gave to capitalists, namely the authority to make decisions and to extract surplus from the worker.

Read below the fold...

Sunset at Pattaya

Went to Pattaya for dinner with another expatriate blogger friend. The sun sets:

And then is set:

Today is my next to the last day in Thailand.... Read below the fold...

I wish!

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Premature triumphalism on ObamaCare signup numbers

Apologies for light posting; my flight back to the states is late Friday and I have places to go, people to see, things to do.

That said, I don't see any reason to think the sign-up numbers are any less soft than they have been before; the whole story, with the March 31 (non-)deadline, reeks of constructed narrative. Consider: Read below the fold...


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