A sadly hilarious tale of ObamaCare's incredibly sloppy drafting. Apparently the "What about the staffers?!" permathread is never ending;* WaPo:
The law requires members of Congress and at least some staffers to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program and join the health-care exchanges. ...
The other contentious issue is that some congressional staff members are able to stay in the federal health plan. Boehner (R-Ohio), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have all designated all of their staffs to join the exchanges. So did many other leaders in the Senate and the House. But Reid kept his leadership staff on the federal plan, explaining that he was following the law. Does that mean the others are not following the law? ...
Our story starts with an amendment from Charles Grassley and what happened to it: Read below the fold...
Continuing on with the 2011 interview. Covers FOIAing. Going through the McCollum memo A through H. The monitor stations and talking to the cryptographers. A lingering puzzle for a new book. And America First.
P.S. Another headline:
(Waraning, NY Times?)
Transcript below the fold.
Time Magazine that bastion of Conventional Wisdom named Pope Francis as its Person of the Year. The whole notion of a Person of the Year is kind of hokey –there’s a word I haven’t used in a while. On one level, it’s a perpetuation of the Great Man view of history, that history is not made by the peoples of this world but by their leaders. You can see why this concept would be so attractive to the rich and elites who actually run things. Leaders, if they don’t come from these classes eventually join them, and their very notoriety distracts from the power the rich and elites wield. Read below the fold...
Ha ha, MOOCs are a craptastic fraud pushed by university administratiors (so they can fire teachers)
After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought
"Rethought" by their proponents. The people who got this one right don't have to do any thinking at all.
A study of a million users of massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, released this month by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education found that, on average, only about half of those who registered for a course ever viewed a lecture, and only about 4 percent completed the courses. ...
And perhaps the most publicized MOOC experiment, at San Jose State University, has turned into a flop. It was a partnership announced with great fanfare at a January news conference featuring Gov. Jerry Brown of California, a strong backer of online education. San Jose State and Udacity, a Silicon Valley company co-founded by a Stanford artificial-intelligence* professor, Sebastian Thrun, would work together to offer three low-cost online introductory courses for college credit.
But the pilot classes, of about 100 people each, failed. Despite access to the Udacity mentors**, the online students last spring — including many from a charter high school in Oakland — did worse than those who took the classes on campus. In the algebra class, fewer than a quarter of the students — and only 12 percent of the high school students — earned a passing grade.
I remember very well, in the summer of 2012, the "coup" at the University of Virginia. Read below the fold...
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday introduced legislation to provide health care for every American through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system. Rep. Jim McDermott has filed a companion bill in the House.
Sanders supported the Affordable Care Act, but in an interview with The Daily Beast he called the health care law passed in 2010 “only a modest step forward toward dealing with the dysfunction of the American health-care system.” Even under the new law, Sanders added, insurance companies, drug companies and medical equipment suppliers will be able to rake off billions of dollars in profits rather than devoting those resources to providing health care.
Here's a handy chart: Read below the fold...
FDR and Pearl Harbor: Scott Horton's December 10, 2010 interview of Robert Stinnett, author of Day of Deceit
Continuing on in the series, this is the second interview from December 2010, this one from Scott's weekly KPFK radio show. The blog page air date is December 17 but the audio link file name date is December 10, which I think is the date the interview was recorded, so I'm using December 10. New terms for me are "revisionism without a grudge" and Roosevelt's "vacant sea" declaration.
Robert Stinnett: ...beginning on November 26th, 1941, and Washington, once they realized that the Japanese fleet was heading towards Pearl Harbor and was in the North Pacific, they declared it a vacant sea, which kept all warships out of the vacant sea, meaning American warships and British warships. The only warships allowed were the Japanese warships that proceeded to cross over the North Pacific and then come down the 157th longitude which headed to Pearl Harbor.
Also, a new name is introduced: Obama.
Scott Horton: Mmhmm. Well, and even though you weren’t in the need-to-know loop during the war, it seems like they could have told the truth after the war, but they didn’t. They lied for decades about the extent to which they had broken the Japanese code. Isn’t that right?
Robert Stinnett: That is right. The breaking the codes is the important thing to know, and it’s still secret. You still can’t get a lot of records out, and even though I’ve written personally to President Obama to release the records, he’s not replied to my requests.
Transcript below the fold.
Christmas comes early! AFP:
Talks on forming a huge US-led Pacific free trade area will resume next month after the 12 prospective members Tuesday gave up on meeting Washington's year-end deadline for a deal.
Despite the failure to reach a deal, New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser said momentum was accelerating and this was more important than meeting deadlines.
"And as is always the case in life, the toughest political decisions will be taken at the end," he said.
Maybe. I don't see how you can ever spin missing a deadline as good news, especially as Obama already set a previous deadline, which they missed too. Read below the fold...
The Unusual Event was declared by operators at 8 a.m. after Unit 2 experienced a transformer explosion in an electrical switchyard. The interruption of electrical power to Unit 2 caused protective systems to shut down the reactor.
Operators will keep the Unit 2 reactor offline while the cause of the explosion is investigated and a determination is made on what repairs are necessary. Gregory said it has not yet been determined how long the unit will remain offline. Currently there is an investigation into the cause of the fire and extent of damage. Unit 1 remains operating at about 95 percent power.
No radiation releases have been reported. Gregory said there is no threat to public safety due to the incident.
Power is being supplied to Unit 2 by an emergency diesel generator and one source of offsite power and plant conditions are stable. There are normally two sources of offsite power.
And not for the first time: Read below the fold...
FDR and Pearl Harbor: Scott Horton's December 7, 2010 interview of Robert Stinnett, author of Day of Deceit
There were two interviews for 2010, both about 20 minutes each, a few days apart. Here's the first, which aired 12/10/10 but the audio link name tells me it was recorded 12/7/10, so I'm using that date. If you've been following along, one of Stinnett's consistent themes has been that the commanders in Hawaii were kept in the dark. That changes here:
Scott Horton: And now I believe you write in your book, sir, that Admiral Kimmel and General Short, I think they were the commanders in charge there in Hawaii, and I think you say that the men who were actually decrypting, men and women actually decrypting the military codes, were beneath Admiral Kimmel and yet – they were under his authority, and yet he was cut out of the loop, that their information was going to Washington D.C. but it was not coming back to the highest levels of naval command in Hawaii. Is that correct?
Robert Stinnett: That’s what I learned in the 1980s, but I’m getting new information now that President Roosevelt called Admiral Kimmel to the Oval Office in June 1941 and apparently told him about this, because Admiral Kimmel was claiming he was not getting information. But neither the White House or Admiral Kimmel or his family have released information on that. ... I think that Roosevelt probably convinced him that it was necessary to make the Pacific Fleet a lure to Japan as it was to end the isolation movement in this country so he could really get to war with Germany. That’s what he wanted to do.
Transcript below the fold.
[STIRLING NEWBERRY:] The reality is that
4% health administration + 2% health misallocation + 3% military overinvestment + 3% over residential investment + 2% energy misallocation + 1% education inflation and administration + 2% financialization profits + 1% prison industrial complex over allocation + 2% manufacturing misallocation = 20% of GDP
Compared with this, all of the money we spend on the preferred targets of American austerity, that is domestic discretionary spending, is round off error, let alone the actual waste in domestic discretionary spending.
Let me pause right there, since that list -- though it sure would be nice to have links -- matches rather neatly with the 12-point (sigh) platform we've been tossing around (and I am cleaning my space rather than posting the remix, sigh (but if you could see what I see, you would understand)). So that's interesting! And now a logic chain: Read below the fold...