[This post has many images, so it may be slow to load. --lambert]
A blogging friend of mine* and I visited the Bangkok Art and Culture Center the other day (left), a contemporary art museum that's rather like the Guggenheim done right. (I mean, who really wants to look at objects while compensating for a sloping floor? My inner ear doesn't want to work that hard.) Snark aside, the BACC is a wonderful public space, visually, sonically, tactilely, and it has been increasingly adventurous in its programming; the current show is excellent. Here are some of the images and installations from Thai artists that I especially liked.
Oh, but first, the title: "The power of small multiples" is a data visualization technique invented, or at least named, by the designer Edward Tufte (more; and more):
At the heart of quantitative reasoning is a single question: Compared to what? Small multiple designs, multivariate and data bountiful, answer directly by visually enforcing comparisons of changes, of the differences among objects, of the scope of alternatives. For a wide range of problems in data presentation, small multiples are the best design solution.
For example, Eadweard Muybridge famously used small multiples to enable comparison of changes, solving the question of whether a trotting horse ever has all four feet off the ground (yes):
Here's an example of two small multiples at the BACC: Read below the fold...
I have three blogs that are in various levels of development but I am shooting this one from the hip, so to speak, in five minutes of an adrenalin rush upon arriving home.
Ten minutes ago I left my NYC neighborhood Duane Reade pharmacy and on my way out the door withdrew some cash from a Chase ATM machine.
As my transaction finished a row of balloons spelling out HAPPY BIRTHDAY flashed merrily on the screen.
Whaaaaa.....????. Read below the fold...
Tim Willard, of Kensington, has announced his intention to seek the Green Party's nomination for Montgomery County Council, At-Large. Tim is a retired archivist and the current co-chair of the Maryland Green Party.
Anyone from Montgomery County? Anyone know anything about him? Read below the fold...
When partisans start in with the "most important election of our lifetime" nonsense, it shows how little they really care about your lifeline. The 2000 election qualifies, but it was stolen, and not by Ralph Nader. It was stolen by the Kangaroo SCOTUS, Katherine Harris, and the entire Bush family. What does that tell you? Read below the fold...
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: If you're 55+ and forced into Medicaid, capitation could mean you lose your estate even if you don't cost the government a dime in care
From another excellent Paul Craig Roberts article on the abomination of the estate recovery program:
Many states are choosing to move all or portions of their Medicaid populations to managed care plans. Thirty-five are expected to make changes to their managed care programs in 2014, up from 28 in 2013 and 20 in 2012. States jumping on the privatized-Medicaid bandwagon will mean more profit for corporations and less money allocated to patient care.
A Managed Care Plan is a system of health insurance which includes a network of contracted providers that are paid a fixed amount to provide health benefits to a defined population. Needless to say, this model relies on restriction and denial of care putting Medicaid patients at risk.
A Medicaid Managed Care Plan adds more charges subject to estate recovery for those who are tossed into Medicaid. The Medicaid Manual says that when an individual age 55 and older is enrolled either voluntarily or mandatorily in a managed care plan, the state must seek recovery from the individual’s estate for the premium payments. If the state plan recovers for all Medicaid services, the state must recover from the individual’s estate the total capitation rate for the period the beneficiary was enrolled in the managed care plan.
Check your own state to see if this could apply to you, but as the quotation points out, privatization means capitation, and Medicaid is increasingly privatized. Read below the fold...
Today, John Boehner bowed to the inevitable logic of the impending political season and placed a “clean” debt ceiling increase bill on the floor of the House. At this writing, the bill passed with 28 Republican and 193 Democratic votes. Now it moves on to the Senate, where it is expected to pass in time to allow the Treasury to keep issuing debt instruments.
So, now we have had agreement on a budget partially rolling back the sequester, and the Republican leadership appears to have decided not to have another debt ceiling crisis. I wrote a post called “What Happens Now?” just after the Government shutdown ended last October. There I analyzed the political situation and made a number of predictions about the short-term future. Here's how I answered the question: “Growth and Jobs or Shutdowns and Debt Ceiling Crises?” Read below the fold...
From Ostrum's Nobel Lecture, which is dense but fast-moving and well worth reading and study:
The classic assumptions about rational individuals facing a dichotomy of organizational forms and of goods hide the potentially productive efforts of individuals and groups to organize and solve social dilemmas such as the overharvesting of common-pool resources and the underprovision of local public goods. The classic models have been used to view those who are involved in a Prisoner’s Dilemma [PD] game or other social dilemmas as always trapped in the situation without capabilities to change the structure themselves. This analytical step was a retrogressive step in the theories used to analyze the human condition. Whether or not the individuals who are in a situation have capacities to transform the external variables affecting their own situation varies dramatically from one situation to the next. It is an empirical condition that varies from situation to situation rather than a logical universality. Public investigators purposely keep prisoners separated so they cannot communicate. The users of a common-pool resource are not so limited.
When analysts perceive the human beings they model as being trapped inside perverse situations, they then assume that other human beings external to those involved – scholars and public officials – are able to analyze the situation, ascertain why counterproductive outcomes are reached, and posit what changes in the rules-in-use will enable participants to improve outcomes. Then, external officials are expected to impose an optimal set of rules on those individuals involved. it is assumed that the momentum for change must come from outside the situation rather than from the self-reflection and creativity of those within a situation to restructure their own patterns of interaction.
So, whenever you hear an analyst or expert, especially an economist, invoke the Prisoner's Dilemma, you might ask yourself:
1) Whether the key assumption -- that game participants cannot communicate -- is realistic*, and
2) Whether the analyst or expert is personally invested in the "optimal set of rules" they will seek to impose on you (and people like you).
Indeed, considered in this light, "rationality" looks an awful lot like mere compliance. Read below the fold...
Sheesh, twice now? LA Times:
The Obama administration again delayed a requirement that large employers provide their workers with health benefits, offering businesses more relief from the president's health law deadlines.
Under the law, employers with more than 50 full-time employees must offer affordable health benefits or pay fines, a requirement originally scheduled to go into effect this year but postponed until 2015.Read below the fold...
Nice article from George Packer, especially if you're a book lover, and even more especially if you've been a book lover all your life:*
In 2009, after a career at publishers large and small, Robinson was laid off by Scribner, amid downsizing. Faced with his own professional extinction, and perhaps the industry’s, he co-founded a new company, OR Books, with a different business model. Robinson did research and found that fifty to sixty per cent of the list price of a book goes to Amazon or to another retailer. When he was starting out, in the eighties, that figure was more like thirty or forty per cent. A small-to-midsize publisher has to spend between ten and fifteen per cent on sales, warehousing, and shipping. This leaves little more than twenty-five per cent of the book’s price for editorial counsel, production costs, publicity, paying the author, and whatever profit might be left over. A shared sensibility for a certain kind of fiction or nonfiction writing unites everyone along the way: authors, agents, editors, designers, marketers, reviewers, readers. “The only point at which Bezos enters that chain is to take all the money and the e-mail address of the buyer,” Robinson said. “There’s an entire community of people, and Bezos stands in the middle of it and collects the money.”
Instead of going through Amazon, OR Books sells directly to customers, using printers in Minnesota and the U.K. It pays about fifteen per cent to the printer and keeps the rest. “After four years, we’re just profitable,” Robinson told me. “It works.”
Well, it works as long as one thing is true: Read below the fold...
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Is there something about Democrats that caused five separate ObamaCare website debacles?
We all know how Obama -- assuming his staff aren't lying to cover for him -- was never told and worse, never asked about the problems with the Federal Exchange website. And we also know that to this very day nobody has been fired for the debacle, or even disciplined. (Obama, needless to say, is nominally a Democrat.) Now we see the same sort of administrative and executive dysfunction in four Democratic states whose Exchanges failed as well. ProPublica:
Much has been written (and will continue to be written) about the spectacular failure of health insurance exchanges in Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oregon and Maryland—all blue states that support the Affordable Care Act.
One common element emerging in the coverage of these exchanges is that at least some state employees knew they were heading for disaster but didn’t take action early enough to remedy it. All the states have blamed some, if not all, of their problems on outside tech contractors.
Well, yes. With Democrats, it is always, 100% of the time, somebody else's fault. Mean Republicans! Outside contractors! Ralph Nader! Some detail on each state: Read below the fold...
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Supplemental private insurance emerges to cover the high out-of-pocket costs of ObamaCare's insurance
As out-of-pocket medical costs grow for many Americans, the insurance industry is offering a way to help and, at the same time, expand its business: by selling supplemental policies that may fill the gaps for consumers.
The policies are promoted as helping cover out-of-pocket expenses that can reach thousands of dollars in plans offered by employers and the health law’s online marketplace.
"These supplemental health products have been recently — and we believe will be in the future — one of the fastest growing components of the employer benefits market," said Todd Katz, an executive vice president with MetLife.
Some experts, however, see risk for policyholders in the lightly regulated plans, which tend to be highly profitable for insurers and might be mistaken for more generous coverage.
Just when you think the hilarity can't get more intense, eh? ObamaCare not only guarantees the health insurance parasites a market, it's so poorly designed -- or so well designed -- that it opens up whole new markets for them! You can insure yourself against ObamaCare's crappy policies if you buy a second, additional, crappy policy! It's GENIUS!! Only a satirist of, say, Jonathan Swift's calibre could come up with an appropriate response. But wait! He did! Read below the fold...
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: ObamaCare not so affordable for families at three and four times the poverty line
Who knew? Kaiser Health News:
The lure used to get uninsured Americans to sign up for health law coverage was the promise of generous premium subsidies.
But the promise comes with a catch for almost 3 million people earning between three and four times the federal poverty rate: They may have to pay up to 9.5 percent of their income toward that premium before the subsidy kicks in.
That could take a substantial bite from their budgets — potentially as much as $600 a month for mid-priced plan for a family of three earning between $58,590 and $78,120.
And that's before we talk about the high deductibles, the high co-pays, narrow networks, narrow formularies, and balance billing. Read below the fold...
Wow, shocker. Normally, I don't pay much attention to WaPo fact-checking -- I mean, why would I? -- but Glenn Kessler has a nice compendium of material I know to be true, so herewith on Dick Durbin's claim on Sunday's MTP:
DURBIN: Bob, let’s look at the bottom line. The bottom line is this: 10 million Americans have health insurance today who would not have had it without the Affordable Care Act. Ten million.
Interesting if true. Except so very, very not true. Read below the fold...