Sunday assorted links


4. More accurate to say its ripping off Uber riders. The company's profiting off the inflated fares.

#3 A whipped and desperate populace has become feral and rebelled against its "betters". Now, all bets are off.

Such is the state of today's America. Sad!

Indeed. As an old Brazilian anthem says, "it is not enough to be brave and strong/ a people without virtue will end up enslaved". The collapse of the American system is near, and history history record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening".

I saw a man in the airport walking with presumably his daughter this being the time of year where so and such an assumption can be made, and the man was dressed in a dress. Did I judge the man for being dressed up as a woman? No more than when I judge someone for protesting. Did I feel bad for his daughter? Of course. It is after all, a bit sanctimonious.

But the suicide rate at 41% for transgenders, which is apparently what the jewish rate was during the holocaust, and the suicide rate for bipolars at 15% are quite distinct. If the schism between bipolar and schizophrenia was so important, what's the deal for transgenders? Mustn't it be Dissociative identity disorder?

And if Ben thinks life begins inside the womb, than why aren't the amount of abortions performed morally worse to the amount of transgenders?

Don't trust him. Can't win with him.

Human life obviously begins within the womb. Where else would it begin for humans?

Still, I am happy you are trying to understand other human beings.

You seem to have no idea what you are talking about, but at least you have started questioning. It is better to question and be foolish than not to question and be foolish.

So who's performing the suicides on the transgendered people? Is suicide different than murder? I don't understand your thinking here.

Human life could begin at first breath for the child, being outside the womb.

It's like can you compare a man dressed in a gown as person experiencing a prolonged manic episode.

My point was that I was hoping it was a government sting on bicycle thiefs.

"can you compare a man dressed in a gown as person experiencing a prolonged manic episode" Compare him with what? I don't know how that has relevance to the 'when life begins' question.

For those experiencing gender dysphoria, I don't envy them, but reality doesn't change no matter how they feel. I'm not going to treat them with pity, nor laud them as heroes. I'll treat them as people, and their condition gives them a harder path to travel.

For the transtrenders, screw 'em, stupid attention whores who belittle the real concerns for those above. For the gender activists who give their children puberty blockers, they are evil and performing a particularly heinous form of child abuse.

"Human life obviously begins within the womb. Where else would it begin for humans?"

It began with apes. Where else could human life have begun? Mars???

" Republican efforts to undermine the law's implementation paid tangible political dividends. We also offer evidence that consumers purchasing coverage through the exchange were sensitive to premium price hikes publicized shortly before the election -- despite most receiving a federal tax credit that shielded them from the increases."


Funny if true, an election swung by poor web design.

So it was definitely the cyber, one way or another.

A billion dollars for a crappy website is a good way to sum up Obamacare.

Governments have a hard time with tech in general. According to The Standish Group’s report, from 2003 to 2012, only 6.4 percent of federal IT projects with $10 million or more in labor costs were successful.

But I think your key error is in thinking that the US government, even then, but especially now, always wants successful projects.

As we have seen with Trumpists, there is a market for failure as strategy.

Good point. Governments are inefficient at almost anything. Sounds like a good idea to limit government management of everything but what is necessary.

Trumpists show there is a market to clean up after failure.

That is sadly why a certain type of short sighted libertarian revels in failure, and never, never, seeks success in government.

"State interference is an evil, where it cannot be shown to be a good."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Common Law (1881)

Yeah, the typhoid was great in 1881.

"Governments are inefficient at almost anything"

Free markets, however are worse. Otherwise, free markets do would have fixed Texas, Florida, and the multiple Cairbean hurricane disaster zones by now, given the claims about how free markets solve every problem in response to consumer demand.

Free markets will fix the hurricane damage. What you are arguing for is instant or close to instant results. Free markets will do it in their own time.

"short sighted libertarian revels in failure"

Revel seems like the wrong word. Try acknowledge. I don't wish it to fail, but I don't ignore its failing either.

Re: Democrats will never win another national election until the individual mandate is repealed.

Only a small minority of people are affected by it, so this is unlikely to be true, And indeed, Obama won in 2012, and (if Congress counts) the Democrats won back some Senate and House seats in 2016.

The bad web design was the least of it and not much of a factor by 2016. It was the program itself which was a disaster both politically and as a matter of policy.

I can see why a hater would pine for 2016, when repeal was still a dream you could believe in.

You don't seem to understand what is going on. Democrats will never win another national election until the individual mandate is repealed. The failure of repeal is the dream of all partisan Republicans.

Only a stupid person would simultaneously believe in public choice and the government's failure to pander. Promoters of public choice are just better at pandering; people fear most what they are.

Umm Ray, perhaps most Trump voters are smart enough to know that a government subsidy is not paid by the government but by the tax payers. So forcing higher insurance prices on them and then giving them back some of that as a tax credit is simply an empty shell game that ends up with the tax payers paying more to the insurance companies.

It would not surprise me if most Hillary fans were too dumb to realize this.

But Trump voters don't seem to understand reality.

For example, there is only one way for young people to not pay for the health care of old people.

Suicide at age 26, the age young people become old.... Or 30, the age 20 something's become old.....


Everything being cheaper means you are extremely likely to be poorer.

Your attempts at logic are painfully bad.

This is incorrectly stated. It was Republican opposition to a fundamentally flawed policy idea which paid dividends politically, not opposition to implementation per se. Democrats never really understood the nature of the program or its real political affects. (Few Republicans understood it either, they were mostly lucky rather than smart). People don't need insurance to get healthcare. They need insurance to protect their financial assets. If they don't have meaningful financial assets to protect, they don't need health insurance and do not want it at any price short of absolutely "free." Even heavily subsidised health insurance is a burden if there is any cost at all associated with the "benefit". This is the fundamental political error of Obamacare: People were being forced to pay for something they didn't need and they could easily calculate the cost.

If everyone is a free rider, who pays the workers to do all the free work?

You didn't argue that those who can't pay, get euthanized and their body parts sold to those with money who need organ of have strange dietary desires. That is free market creative destruction of non viable business assets.

Good comment but I'm not sure about "easily calculate the cost."

If they had had the sense to somehow combine Obamacare with Powerball, Trump might not have won the election.

By "easily calculate the cost" I meant the cost to the "beneficiaries" of the program. I mean that the working poor and lower middle class know how much of their money they are contributing to their Obamacare premiums or are losing in their tax returns. They also know they don't get any benefit from the program.

I am not sure how the Powerball thing would work in this instance but if Democrats wanted the program to be popular they needed to make it complete "free" to the "beneficiaries".

Most people, even those without substantial assets, sign up for the workplace health plan, even though these generally require some premium money taken directly from the employee pay check. So your statement ("If they don’t have meaningful financial assets to protect, they don’t need health insurance and do not want it at any price short of absolutely “free.”) is decidedly without basis.
Also, it is vastly easier and much more certain that one can get healthcare with insurance. EMTLA after all only provides for very limited ER services, not healthcare in all its facets-- and even then one is stuck with a bill-- it is not free.

I don't think the phrase "decidedly without basis" means what you think it means.

We are talking about different economic groups. In general, the population which receives its health insurance via Obamacare (or has lost its tax returns due to Obamacare) has less income than those who receive health insurance as a workplace benefit. They also have less wealth and have lower prospects of obtaining wealth in the foreseeable future. All of these things make them value current income more than the dim prospect of future wealth. That is why they mostly hate Obamacare and feel it is ruining their lives.

Although it is true that some people without substantial assets at present "sign up for the workplace health plan" even if there is an added cost, this does not in any way undermine my statements above. First, at this point, failure to sign up for a workplace healthcare plan means you either forfeit your tax return or get health insurance from the Obamacare exchanges thus paying Obamacare premiums (which are generally higher than contributions to workplace plans) for insurance you can't use. Second, with higher income comes the prospect of future assets which need protection. Third, I think there is also probably a social benefit to being the kind of person who has the kind of job that receives health insurance from work. But that is a luxury that few members of the "Obamacare class" can afford.

Re: We are talking about different economic groups. In general, the population which receives its health insurance via Obamacare (or has lost its tax returns due to Obamacare) has less income than those who receive health insurance as a workplace benefit.

First off, that is a much smaller population. Most working age people receive health benefits from work, either their own job, or a spouse/partner's. Secondly low income people who receive healthcare through the ACA either have Medicaid (which usually costs them nothing) or a very heavily subsidized exchange policy which costs no more than they would pay in co-premiums for a workplace policy. The people who are fully exposed to individual market premiums are generally self-employed middle class or better people, not poor schlubs working at Walmart or McD's-- or living off SSDI payments. There's a story to tell there, but it's not about low income people, it's about much better off entrepreneurial types. And that jives with the fact that Trump's voter base skews wealthier than the US median.

Yes, most people receive health benefits from work or Medicare or Medicaid. Yes, that is a larger group than those suffering under Obamacare. If it were otherwise, Trump would have won by an absolutely staggering margin.

Most Obamacare "beneficiaries" are the working poor and lower middle class and, for the most part, they hate the program and feel it is ruining their lives. And they are correct. A 27 year old tow truck driver, waitress, bartender, cashier, or security guard without coverage from work, without significant prior health issues, without significant assets and living "pay check to pay check" is going to suffer financially because of Obamacare. They won't be able to afford a couple of beers with their buddies after work, or a baby sitter to see a movie or a tank of gas to take their kid fishing. Even if they get subsidies, they are still going to be crushed financially because, regardless of the cost to them, they are unable to receive any meaningful benefits from the program.

On the other hand, there are some people who benefited from Obamacare. For example, a 55 year old solo attorney with some prior health issues, a middle class or better income, and significant assets would do great. Essentially, Obamacare is a device to shift money from the tow truck operator, waitress, bartender, cashier and security guard to the lawyer.

Republican "populism" was created by Obamacare and unrestrained illegal immigration. The working class is leaving the Democratic party and they will never come back.

Sorry, real life interrupted for a moment.

Anyway, consider the paper at #3, the authors are mystified by their findings that Obamacare "beneficiaries" voted for Trump despite not paying the full cost of the "benefits" they received. At the same time, Obamacare did not hurt Hillary in wealthier areas (with low Obamacare participation) even where premiums increased dramatically. Just try to explain that data without accepting my argument.

Most of all, you are simply wrong about about what medical services are available to the working poor without insurance via EMTALA. In reality, every hospital with an emergency room which accepts medicare (which means nearly all of them) must provide all the services the hospital would provide to paying patients regardless of ability to pay. This is not limited to ER services unless the hospital would not normally provide anything else for paying patients with the same medical conditions. It's true that not every hospital provides every service and it might be true that in a particular local area some medical services would only be available to paying patients (I have never known this actually to occur but obviously I cannot speak as to every local area in the US). And, yes, sometime rural people have to travel to big cities to get some kinds of medical care.

And, yes, there are bills. Sometimes, uninsured people even pay their medical bills--it has happened occasionally. For the most part, however, the existence of medical debt is not a meaningful burden on the lives of the working poor. If pressed, they can declare bankruptcy. Everyone knows this, some are determined to ignore it.

You are focusing on hospital ERs as if those are the only places anyone goes for healthcare. But that's just a small part of the healthcare world (albeit a very pricey part). You are leaving out doctor's offices, both PCPs and specialists, diagnostic laboratories, urgent care facilities, pharmacies, and the non-ER parts of hospitals. None of those are obligated to treat medically indigent people, and while some charity care may exist as a general rule if you can't pay cash or put something on a credit card you will not be accepted as patient at any of these places-- meaning you do not receive the sort of healthcare they offer. This is reality, dude, deal with it.

Re: If pressed, they can declare bankruptcy

Anyone who thinks bankruptcy courts have a proper places in the financing of healthcare should be dispatched by time machine to the court of Louis XVI at Versailles where such "let them eat cake" attitudes were in vogue. They have no place in a 21st nation with the least pretense at basic decency.

1. I did not bring up the subject of hospital ERs. You did that. I was only correcting some of your misstatements regarding ERs and the EMTALA. In the US, medical care is available to all, regardless of the ability to pay, from one source or another depending on the circumstances. At worst, patients may be forced to travel to receive the care they need. Yes, every form of medical care is not available from every possible source, in all locations, at all times.

2. When people incur debts, including medical debts, they may legally make use of the bankruptcy laws to discharge those debts. The availability of bankruptcy protection is a substantial benefit to the working poor and lower middle class. There is no rational analogy between the availability of modern bankruptcy protections to the poor and lower middle class and the unavailability of cake to starving peasants in eighteenth century France.

2. The stuff with Ben Shapiro has been disappointing. Both his attacks and those to his right and their attacks against him are far out of proportion to the actual disagreements they have. I think it's a matter of simple economics. When a random feminist writes a blog, none of Ben Shapiro's readers are going to want to read it. Milo, on the other hand, is competing for the same audience.

'is competing for the same audience'

Those who consider having sex with underage partners to be a fine thing for everyone involved? Assuming it ever happened, of course. Milo is not like Moore, after all.

"Those who consider having sex with underage partners to be a fine thing for everyone involved?"

He said in certain cases it could be and didn't advocate changing the laws, saying an age of consent of 16 was about right. It's not like mainstream society disagrees. When I told people a story about how I lost my virginity at 14 to a 19 year old girl, no one responded with virtue signalling about "pedophilia." They either patted high-fived me or told me I was lying.(Which I was.)

It used to be part of the German Green Party's platform so who could argue that those sophisticated intelligent Europeans who are so much smarter than us could have got it wrong?

In fact pretty much the entire Left embraced the idea of underage sex - up to the point they realized that it could be used as a stick to beat the Churches with. There is a good essay on line somewhere called pedophilia chic about the leftist media's endorsement of underage sex back in the 1980s.

This, colossally many times. And it’s only what? three four years since the Left was defending Roman Polanski, against Puritan right wingers. Polanski, now there’s the original Weinstein of the Hollywood set.

Milo's into the BBC I thought.

>Governments have a hard time with tech in general.

Oh, I see. EVERYBODY KNEW that the Obamacare website was going to be a disaster, so it's no big deal.

>But I think your key error is in thinking that the US government, even then, but especially now, always wants successful projects.

Oh, I see. Not only did Obama's people know it would fail, they actually WANTED it to fail. So it's no big deal.

>As we have seen with Trumpists, there is a market for failure as strategy.

Oh, I see. They wanted it to feel to please TRUMP VOTERS. So it's no big deal.

You, sir, are a fucking moron.

It's not like Obama said it would be just like Amazon...

I had forgotten that tidbit.

I wonder if any fact checkers labelled Obama's comment as "False" at the time.

What are you going to tell me, that all governmental (or congressional) oars have been in the water, pulling together for a better, working, health care system?

Or have people been playing gotchas wherever they can, in this case just because subsided rate, something you probably don't even approve of, was not headlined?

The idea was fatally flawed from when it was written. Too complicated, too dependent on politically impossible things. Anyone who would come up with the cockamamie idea that 1/6 of the US economy could be controlled by a Secretary in Washington is a blithering idiot.

So you really are suggesting it is a good idea to place personal decisions in the hands of congress members and their deals? What a stupid idea.

The largest single payer system in Canada serves 18 million or so, the others quite a bit smaller, and they can barely deal with the complexity and amounts of money required. The European systems are similarly decentralized.

Obamacare is indefensible. It was barely defensible when it passed and it hasn't improved with age.

How many of you have oars in the water to fix it?

Especially now that ..

I am ready to help!

Oh you’re going to give extra come tax season? That admirable.

> What are you going to tell me, that all governmental (or congressional) oars have been in the water, pulling together for a better, working, health care system?

Oh, you're right, republicans just want bad healthcare.

You think maybe there are some differences of opinion on how to optimally pursue a better, working, healthcare system?

Not to mention, there can easily be disagreements regarding what is and isn't working, and what priorities ought to be.

If the Republicans wanted a better healthcare they would have a fully wonked out and modeled plan to follow, not sixteen variations swapped and recycled as the CBO or someone does the math.

They have been completely unserious.

Obamacare has almost nothing to do with whether healthcare is better or worse. What Obamacare changed was which groups pay for it. In general, Obamacare forced large numbers of the working poor and lower middle class to pay much more for healthcare. A few relatively wealthy people, especially those with "preexisting conditions" (mostly just relatively expensive chronic conditions), paid less.

Democrats have been unserious. Republicans have been cynical.

1. George Carlin's stuff:

2. Pretty good piece. My son is a fan of Shapiro's.

5. With regard to his comments on obesity, I definitely find it is easier to not eat than eat only a little, but I generally keep this information to myself because I figure that either:
(1) People already know, or...
(2) They find information about me as interesting as I find information about them.

I find I cannot assume 1). People do not know.

2) I can’t discuss.

While Altucher may have a very high IQ, he advises people not to invest in their 401(k)'s and that is very expensive advice indeed. Not so smart.

The authors of the Obamacare study are evidently mystified by the observation that poor and (lower) middle income people receiving Obamacare subsidies are nevertheless unhappy with the program. At the same time, they also seem mystified by the observation that wealthy people are pleased with the program despite large premium increases in their areas.

It must take years of careful study and rigorous discipline to be that oblivious.

This is a good comment. I'd add this: many people who know they get subsidies also understand that someone is paying for those subsidies and would see the increase in cost as a failure of the stated goal of the program. (I know the placebo test in the paper would control for this, but still.)

3. People had hours cut because of ACA mandates. Amazing how many people can't find good paying jobs despite college degrees. Be careful what you major in. Also, many with private insurance lost good insurance and wound up paying more to subsidize deadbeats.

Re: . Amazing how many people can’t find good paying jobs despite college degrees.

That;s actually rather unusual. The unemployment rate for people with degrees is 2.2%-- and has fallen from its high during the Great Recession without regard to the ACA. And the kinds of jobs that college degreed people are likely to be hired at generally provide health insurance as a matter of course.

I am curious who these "deadbeats" are.

5. I've heard Mormons are prejudiced against people of different races.

I really enjoyed this podcast.

One thing struck me as I heard James praise Tyler’s intelligence. Why is there so little cross talk between a very deep super bright pool of people in the investment community and those on these kind of blogs/podcasts etc?

I remember recently reading Yudkowsky remark at how surprised he was to find people from investment community surprisingly smart. Rather than patronizing I think it reveals academic types have little interaction with that community which filters amongst other things for extreme intelligence not much seem in public forums. Think top performing macro managers or value investors. Read some of their letters little Tyler speaks to is not deeply thought about and discussed in this community.

Keep up th good work,


Great for Nigerian drivers are using fake GPS to rip off Uber..

The Altucher interview was great; I transcribed my favorite bit:

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