Scott Cain's website

Bioinformatics, Perl, Cool Stuff
Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system



Does Rising Inequality Harm Economic Growth?

Kevin Drum - 1 hour 6 min ago

Does rising income inequality reduce economic growth? EPI’s Josh Bivens takes another crack at this hypothesis today, starting with some (uncontroversial) evidence that the rich save more than the non-rich. I’ve inverted this to show how much people in different income brackets spend:

If the rich squirrel away their income instead of spending it, then total national consumption will be highest when the non-rich have a bigger share of total income: As Bivens says: “A straightforward back-of-the-envelope estimate of [blah blah blah]. Table 2 shows the results of this procedure.” Long story short, Table 2 shows that total national consumption is about 2 percent lower than it would be if income inequality hadn’t risen since 1979.

So far, so good. But there’s always been a big problem with this theory: if the rich spend less of their income, this implies a higher overall savings rate as income inequality rises. But that’s not what happened: From 1980 through the early aughts, the savings rate dropped:

Bivens agrees this is a problem for the inequality hypothesis, but suggests that it’s something of an illusion because normal measures of savings don’t include unrealized capital gains, a substantial source of household net worth for the rich. If you include that, the savings rate looks different:

It’s true that there’s more volatility in this measure, but in fact it doesn’t look much different from the standard savings chart. Once you fit a trendline, you get the same result: savings decreased from 1980 through the mid-aughts.

Unrealized capital gains don’t represent reduced spending from current income, so I don’t know if Bivens’ approach is kosher in the first place. Unfortunately, it’s not clear if that matters since it doesn’t change the overall trendlines anyway. The hypothesis that increased income inequality reduces overall demand remains one of those tantalizing theories that seems like it’s obviously true, but just doesn’t fit the data. For the time being, I continue to think of it as one of our great mysteries.

Categories: Politics

Facing Sexual Assault Charges, KY Lawmaker Sings Christian Hymn Before Calling Accuser A Liar

Crooks and Liars - 1 hour 10 min ago
Facing Sexual Assault Charges, KY Lawmaker Sings Christian Hymn Before Calling Accuser A Liar

Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson (R) on Tuesday denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl.

Maranda Richmond told Louisiana Public Media that when Johnson was her preacher years ago, he sexually assaulted after she went to sleep at a New Year's party.

Louisiana Public Media detailed Richmond's encounter with Johnson that night.

That night, she woke after settling in on the sofa. She was groggy, unfocused. But she saw Johnson kneeling above her. He gave her a kiss on the head. She thought it fatherly, nothing out of the ordinary, simply one last goodnight gesture.

Then he started to stroke her arm. He slid his hands up, under her shirt and bra, and groped her. He stuck his tongue in her mouth. Then, he forced his hands down her pants, underneath her underwear, and penetrated her with his finger.

She begged her pastor to stop and tried to force him off, quietly. She remembers not wanting to awaken Sarah. But Johnson was a big man, roughly twice her weight.

He told her she’d like it. She said no, she didn’t. She pleaded with him: go away, go away.

Johnson held a press conference in the pulpit of Heart of Fire Church on Tuesday to counter Richmond's accusations.

The press conference began with Johnson and his supporters singing a Christian hymn about baby Jesus.

read more

Categories: Politics

CNN Reporter Defies Huckabee Sanders Threat, Asks Trump About Offensive Tweet

Crooks and Liars - 1 hour 26 min ago

During another press pool spray of Trump showing off his autograph, CNN's Jim Acosta was ignored by Donald when he asked what he meant by his sexually suggestive and offensive tweet to Sen. Gillibrand.

As Trump was departing, Acosta asked, "Mr. President, what did you mean when you said that Kirsten Gillibrand would do anything for a campaign contribution?"

As with almost all of his signing photo-ops, journalists yell questions at him as he's walking away and most times he stops and answers a few. Since the heat has been dialed up, he wanted to flee the scene very quickly.

But before the CNN reporter yelled out the question to Trump, he was ordered to stand down by Sarah Huckabee Sanders or he may face recriminations for his disobedience.

After the pool spray Acosta tweeted this:

Categories: Politics

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders Sounds Reeeally Upset

Crooks and Liars - 1 hour 30 min ago

You know, I don't envy anyone acting as Donald Trump's Press Secretary.

That's because I would never take that stupid thankless job of lying for the biggest liar ever to occupy the Oval Office.

But yeah, it's gotta be hard to not just start screaming from the podium that everything is awful, you know you're going to hell, except this is hell, and you'd quit but from here on in you're utterly unemployable and since you signed a non-disclosure agreement (stupid) you can't even write a tell-all book.

And now Crooks and Liars is fundraising off your misery?

Yeah, we are.

Any amount helps, and we especially need small recurring donations (put in less than you pay for Netflix/Hulu!) to keep our video archive server space paid for.

THANKS SO MUCH for all you do for us. We promise not to forward any money to a mental health fund for Donald Trump's Press Secretaries.

Support Crooks and Liars:

Categories: Politics

When It All Falls Down

Balloon Juice - 2 hours 22 min ago

People are weird:

Bitcoin is in the “mania” phase, with some people even borrowing money to get in on the action, securities regulator Joseph Borg told CNBC on Monday.

“We’ve seen mortgages being taken out to buy bitcoin. … People do credit cards, equity lines,” said Borg, president of the North American Securities Administrators Association, a voluntary organization devoted to investor protection. Borg is also director of the Alabama Securities Commission.

“This is not something a guy who’s making $100,000 a year, who’s got a mortgage and two kids in college ought to be invested in.”

Bitcoin has been soaring all year, starting out at $1,000 and rocketing above $19,000 on the Coinbase exchange last week. The price on Coinbase, which accounts for a third of bitcoin trading value, is often at a premium over other exchanges.

The cryptocurrency was trading at just under $16,700 on Coinbase at 2:21 p.m. New York time Monday.

I kinda feel like people buying bitcoin right now are the folks who headed to the Gold Rush in California in 1856. Just a couple years late, guys. But who knows!

At any rate, if there is a bitcoin crash, what impact could it have on the economy?

Categories: Politics

Brian Kilmeade Shocked Sessions 'Could Never Preside Over A Russia Investigation'

Crooks and Liars - 2 hours 34 min ago

DOJ Spox Sarah Isgur Flores had to explain to Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade that since Sessions was a senior advisor to Trump's team, he had to recuse himself from any investigations into the campaign.

Kilmeade angrily said, "I wonder why he took the job then."

After a new report came out saying an FBI agent told an aide to Sessions that in his official capacities as a Senator, he wasn't required to reveal his foreign contacts, the right wing media circus went ballistic.

Suddenly they believe that Sessions did not have to recuse himself from the Russia investigations so that he could imitate Rep. Devin Nunes' despicable behavior trying to undermine his own Committee's work and either shield or torpedo all aspects of any investigation into the Trump administration.

Trump's favorite team of Fox News talking heads brought on the DOJ's spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores to discuss a DOJ official named Bruce Ohr.

read more

Categories: Politics

Donald Trump’s Gillibrand Tweet, Explained

Kevin Drum - 2 hours 40 min ago

Everyone wants to know what this tweet means:

I’m here to help. As you know, I’ve long been a proponent of the theory that Trump’s tweets are designed primarily (solely?) to create an alternate universe for his fans. They aren’t meant for the rest of us. But I’m now edging toward accepting a different theory: they are meant to keep Trump’s name in the news because he really likes it when CNN talks about him. As the New York Times put it, “One former top adviser said Mr. Trump grew uncomfortable after two or three days of peace and could not handle watching the news without seeing himself on it.”

Trump has real talent at self-promotion, and a sort of animal cunning about what kinds of insinuations will get everyone talking. The obvious insinuation here is that Gillibrand did something sexual, but Trump didn’t actually say that and can self-righteously deny it if anyone mentions it.

So that’s what this is all about. It puts Trump back in the news and might even give him an opportunity to launch another wave of FAKE NEWS tweets. What’s not to like?

Categories: Politics

Here’s How Fox ‘Covered’ The Press Conference Of Donald Trump’s Accusers

Crooks and Liars - 2 hours 52 min ago
Here’s How Fox ‘Covered’ The Press Conference Of Donald Trump’s Accusers

This Monday, Brave New Films held a press conference with three of the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. The very brief report on Fox News seemed designed more to provide Trump’s response than the women’s accusations.

As you can see below, the press conference lasted about a half hour. Fox’s report lasted a little over one minute. There was no audio of what any of the women said. Anchor Bill Hemmer spoke over the footage, which also included b-roll footage of Trump.

HEMMER: A group of women now who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual harassment and assault now speaking out about their experience. This is a news conference: Lexington Hotel, New York City, hosted by Brave New Films. The women expected to call for accountability and a Congressional investigation of alleged sexual misconduct by the president.

That was it for the press conference. If you wanted to know any of the women’s experiences or feelings, you were SOL if Fox was your only source of news this morning.

However, Hemmer spent just as much (in fact a tad more) time on Trump’s response.

read more

Categories: Politics

“Southern Heritage” Open Thread: Roy Moore’s Rebel Yawps

Balloon Juice - 3 hours 3 min ago

If your social media this morning seems to include an awful lot of rude / despairing comments about Alabama, there are reasons. The resentful Confederate revanchists let their filters take the night off, and the results were… pretty much what you’d expect, all crammed together at one busy rally. Buzzfeed reports, “Roy Moore’s Last And Weirdest Campaign Event“:

Roy Moore’s closing argument was an airing of grievances.

In his first appearance on the campaign trail in nearly a week, the Senate candidate in Alabama complained bitterly about how he’s been treated by the media, by supporters of his Democratic opponent, and by establishment Republicans. And, facing allegations of sexual misconduct that could cost him Tuesday’s special election here, he lashed out again at his accusers.

“I want you to understand this,” said Moore, who’s been accused of making sexual advances on a minor, sexually assaulting a 16-year-old, and pursuing romantic relationships with other teens. “The Washington Post put out this terrible, disgusting article, saying I had done something. I want you to understand something. They said these women … had not come forward for nearly 40 years, but they waited until 30 days before this general election to come forward.”…

The Election Eve rally inside a special events barn in southeast Alabama featured a lineup of right-wing speakers, headlined by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Steve Bannon, the Breitbart executive chairman and former chief strategist for President Donald Trump. But Kayla Moore’s comments — and her husband’s outrage — stood out most. Polls are all over the place in the race’s closing days, but the accusations against Moore helped turned what should have been an easy win for Republicans into a battle with Democrat Doug Jones. Moore’s frustration was evident.

At one point, he alluded to Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican who doesn’t support him and who went on CNN on Sunday to say the “Republican Party can do better.” Moore didn’t mention Shelby’s name, only that he was among the senators opposed to his candidacy. The National Republican Senatorial Committee stopped funding Moore after the accusations…

Remember, Shakedown Shelby’s gonna have to work with this gomer, should Doug Jones not eke out a well-deserved win. To quote that book Moore fans wave around (but don’t read), They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind… “

Will tuck the universally croggled observers’ tweets below the fold, so don’t say I never spared you anything…

Also, we have a Black Friend…


And for the big crowd-pleasing closer:

Categories: Politics

Well, that escalated quickly…

Balloon Juice - 3 hours 25 min ago

You guys, I think Trump just called Senator Gillibrand a slut:

Is there a German word yet for that feeling when you think something has to be from a parody account but it’s really not? The senator clapped back:

I’m out of can’ts to even.

For reasons too convoluted to explain, I’m hanging out alone in a remote cabin that had Fox News blaring when I walked in the door. There is a bewildering array of remote controls, none of which seemed to affect the volume or power.

I follow Fox News on Twitter to see what the bastards are up to, but watching it live is another experience altogether. Non-stop fear-mongering! Even the commercials portend doom; it’s all survivor seed packets, bunker rations and gold.

I found a button that changed the channel and jumped out of the frying pan into the hell-fire — an old-timey evangelical preacher! I frantically pushed every button at once and landed on Dan’l Boone TV show reruns. That’ll do, although it’s vaguely disturbing that there’s a raccoon HEAD on his coonskin cap!

Hope your day is less of a catastrophuck!

Categories: Politics

Dave Yost Behind Poor-Shaming Push For Photo ID On Food Stamp Cards

Plunderbund - 3 hours 41 min ago

A proposal to put photo identification on food-stamp cards is making its way through the Ohio General Assembly, having been passed in the state House or Representatives and now under consideration in the state Senate, with Ohio Auditor Dave Yost reportedly lobbying legislators for its passage.

The idea for IDs on food stamp cards is similar to Republican efforts to push for drug testing of assistance recipients: It’s costly and ineffective and mostly just a political cudgel to further shame, blame, and attack poor people whose lives are already a daily struggle to survive, often having to choose between buying toiletries or paying the electricity bill.

The proposal is opposed by many who work to help people struggling in poverty, including Athens County Job & Family Services Director Scott Zielinski, who wrote a letter to state Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, on Nov. 3 presenting his argument against the bill for photo ID on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) debit cards.

“Adding photo identification to SNAP cards has not been a cost-effective measure to promote program integrity in other states, and it would be unreasonable to assume that Ohio will have different results,” Zielinski wrote. “The details of the law, and the supporting arguments in favor, concede that no real impact will occur once this is implemented.”

The bill has been introduced ostensibly as a way to prevent fraud. Its supporters have pointed to police officers finding SNAP cards in the homes of alleged drug dealers that reportedly didn’t belong to them, and police suspected the cards of having been used as a form of payment.

Zielinski predicted that the bill will not prevent fraud but could deter people from accessing services and further stigmatize the use of SNAP cards for low-income residents who rely on the assistance to feed their families.

“At the end of the day, after all of the cost and administration to add a photograph to a family’s SNAP card, and all the trouble to ‘educate’ businesses about the new process, and the needless scapegoating of poor people by suspecting them of fraud just for using a safety-net program, if the business suspects someone is using a card not authorized to them… the business calls their county JFS to report their suspicions. That’s it. The transaction still proceeds.”

Cards are issued to families, not individuals, so federal rules assure that those authorized to use the care and with knowledge of the PIN can use it, and retailers cannot stop a person from completing the transaction if their picture is not on the card, Zielinski noted.

“Families have multiple members that may do the shopping in any given week, so the only way to account for the new photo requirement would be to issue multiple SNAP cards per household, which defeats the entire purpose of decreasing fraud,” he said.

If the bill proceeds, Ohio will spend millions of dollars just to appear “tough on need” and sufficiently judgmental of the poor people who rely on the service, Zielinski said.

“If the goal of the bill is to reduce the number of people using the service by stigmatizing users, it should proceed. If the goal of the bill is to reduce fraud/abuse, it should not,” he said.

State Rep. Jay Edwards, the sole Republican in the Ohio House to oppose the bill, said that while eliminating fraud and abuse of the food assistance program is a worthy goal, after investigating this proposal and finding out its costs and apparent lack of effectiveness, he could not support it.

Edwards said that he didn’t realize until this week that he was the lone Republican to vote against House Bill 50 on Nov. 1. Two Democrats joined the rest of the Republicans in voting for it, with the legislation passing the Ohio House 64 to 31.

“The bill said it’s trying to reduce fraud and that’s great – reducing fraud that takes money away from the people who actually need it,” Edwards said.

But after diving into the details, Edwards said that federal regulations already exempt 85 percent of program users from any photo requirement as an undo hardship due to lack of transportation, health issues and other factors.

“So right off the top you’re only working with 15 percent,” he said.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost has been pushing for the photo ID proposal, Edwards said, citing law enforcement finding the cards during drug busts. But Edwards said the photo ID would not stop anybody from using the card, regardless of whose picture is on it, because cashiers are barred by federal rules from asking for the card anyway, and anybody in the family is allowed to use it.

Furthermore, Edwards said, there’s no way to prove that the drug dealer didn’t steal any SNAP card found in her or his possession or otherwise prove how the card got there.

Another issue, Edwards said, is that fraud can take place on the part of the businesses, with cards being “swiped” at the register without a product actually being sold and the cash then split and pocketed.

“And we’re not doing anything about fraud on that end, and really I don’t think we’re doing anything about fraud on the other end honestly. In theory it sounded good, but when you break it all down, it wasn’t going to do much,” he said. “You can’t check the card. It wasn’t going to do anything at all.”

This is especially important, the House member said, because the program will cost millions of dollars just to get up and running. The Legislative Service Commission has estimated initial start-up costs between $1.5 million and $2 million, then ongoing annual costs between $1 million and $3 million.

Edwards said he spoke to legislators in Massachusettes, where SNAP ID legislation was enacted. That state has half the population and half the SNAP recipients of Ohio, and Edwards said he was told it cost them $8 million.

“It’s going to be a great cost to the state for very little return,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to see much fraud being fixed by this legislation.”

Edwards said many more people are benefiting from SNAP than people abusing it.

“We’ve got a lot of problems in this state; I’m not sure we should be going after this subset of people who are living below 130 percent of the poverty line,” Edwards said. “And 80 percent of them are living below 100 percent, living in extreme poverty. I’m not sure why we’re going after them and not getting anything in return. It’s going to be a great cost to taxpayers.”

Categories: Politics

Tearful Jimmy Kimmel Holds Billy As He Pleads For Support For CHIP

Crooks and Liars - 4 hours 29 min ago

While holding his son Billy, Jimmy Kimmel made the case for CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, last night.

Republicans are using CHIP funding as a bargaining chip for their tax cut plan, probably to force Democratic support. (Because there are no moral lines they won't cross, of course.)

“It almost certainly covers children you know. About one in eight children are covered only by CHIP,” Kimmel said.

“Now, CHIP has become a bargaining chip. It’s on the back burner while they work out their new tax plans, which means parents of children with cancer and diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month.

"Merry Christmas, right? This happened because Congress, about 72 days ago, failed to approve funding for CHIP since the first time it was created about two decades ago.”

He asked people to call Congress and ask them to fund it now. Unfortunately, he put up the wrong number. Here's the right one:


You know what to do. Do it for kids like Billy who don't have millionaire parents!

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1386288741770-3'); });
Categories: Politics

OpEditude: Golden Gopher Goofs; Or, Should Have Al Franken Resigned?

Plunderbund - 4 hours 43 min ago

Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken goofed a golden gopher opportunity last Thursday to make a real difference that would have produced lasting effects had he not capitulated to the rush to judgement forced by his Democratic brethren, who saw no distinction between his transgressions compared to those of President Donald Trump or the likely to be elected Senator from Deep South state Alabama, Roy Moore.

In a forced marched to his resignation that took about three weeks, made possible by his Senate colleagues including Ohio U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, calling on him to resign, “Landslide” Al – the nickname he earned after he won his first term by a mere couple hundred votes – sacrificed his vote and his voice in the currently broken U.S. Senate.

Did the former comedian turned politico do the right thing after nearly all members of his conference turned their indignation on him, while simultaneously letting senior New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, who was indicted and stood trial on corruption charges, go un-Hectored?

Donald Trump turned long-standing traditional politics on its head in 2016, doing all the wrong things, outrageously and purposely so, then being rewarded with winning the White House. Trump’s outlandish, flagrant, and often times buffoonish behavior that included unwanted sexual attacks on women, 16 of whom  came forward to relate their misgivings about the braggadocio real estate mogul, remained in tact. Like a flower fed too much Miracle Grown over the years, Trump’s popular NBC TV show, “The Apprentice,” bloomed the rich kid from Queens so much that Republicans controlling the House and Senate in Washington have chosen to see no evil when it comes to his personal and professional violations, failings, and transgressions.

Franken should have called Trump’s hand, then raised him. The former Saturday Night Live skit performer should have fought political fire with political fire, first by apologizing personally and profusely to all the women who accused him of behavior he takes fault for. After pillaring himself, he should have shocked the the White House and media by standing his ground, like Roy Moore is doing in Alabama. Franken should have stayed in the Senate, where he could have publically rehabilitated himself by actions that include doing his legislative best to introduce or co-sponsor bills that would bring bad behavior transgressors in and out of Congress to meet their appropriate penalty.

Media that divides America more than it brings it together loved Franken taking a “parting shot” at President Trump and Roy Moore, the disgraced Alabama judge who has denied even knowing most of the women who have come forward to tell their tale of their unfortunate encounters with him when they were underage girls. Meanwhile, Moore is running Trump’s playbook from last year in the former slave state, and is expected by many to win a close vote next Tuesday to fill the seat vacated by long-time ‘Bama U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for Attorney General.

Franken won his first term in 2008, along with Barack Obama, then won a second six-year term in 2014. He had another four years left to make up for stories that entailed unwanted contact with a handful of women who were okay enough with him, either for reasons related to his former career in show business or as a sitting senator from Minnesota, to get close enough to him that they could accuse him of touching them in appropriate ways. Franken said he welcomed and would contribute to any investigation into his behavior by the Senate Ethics Committee. But when Franken resigned, he foreclosed on that due process exonerating him on incidents he remembered differently or flat out disagreed with.

Media would have been beside itself had Franken said he would wait to see whether Alabama voters would elect or reject Moore before making his decision to stay or go. Media would have been verklempt had Franken said he wouldn’t step down unless Trump was impeached for sexual behavior that made what former Democratic President Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky look like the sex between two consenting adults it was. Lewinsky wasn’t underage, as many of Moore’s targets were when he abused them. Franken could have thrown a monkey wrench into the pushed-for outcome by putting the burden of his trial on Alabama voters.

With his resignation this week, Franken’s seat is up for grabs. Republicans could re-take it if a candidate like former popular Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty sees his opportunity to get back into office. With Democratic senators up against an electorate that could winnow their numbers down further next year because so many of them are running for reelection in states Trump won,

Franken sacrificing his vote so Democrats can say they’ve claimed the moral high ground, when media like Fox News will misconstrue or dismiss it, could become a lost opportunity to have made all the right moves. It’s clear that an alt-right senator like Moore, or a center right Republican like Pawlenty, would make all the wrong moves once seated in the Senate.

Franken could have added to his resignation speech the promise to not go quietly into the night of disgraceful wrong doing. He could have fought to become a turnaround hero instead of the comedian villain history that will become part of his obituary. Media mogul Harvey Weinstein, renowned journalist Charlie Rose, morning show honcho Matt Lauer, and serial abuser Bill O’Reilly dwarf Franken with their behavior. Franken could have said he will become an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, which he has been throughout his entertainment and political life already, notwithstanding the violations he has been accused of of late.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall, the saying goes. Trump is as big as they get, but him falling hard anytime soon seems a dream Democrats dream when they dream Republicans will come to their senses and professed moral values.

Categories: Politics

A Furious Mika Tears Into Trump Over This Morning's Tweet

Crooks and Liars - 4 hours 52 min ago

This tweet really pissed off Mika Brzezinski this morning as Morning Joe broadcast live from Alabama, and she called out Sarah Huckabee Sanders for her inevitable defense:

(While implying that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand would have sex for money, Trump was acknowledging that no one would have sex with him for any reason other than money. But I don't think he realizes that. Poor pathetic thing!)

"I just want to -- I just want to say something beyond the fact that is reprehensible that the president of the United states would say something so derogatory and disgusting about a woman -- we're not surprised, Mr. President," an angry Brzezinski said.

read more

Categories: Politics

Let It Snow

Plunderbund - 4 hours 57 min ago

’Tis the  season:

When a reporter asked Donald Trump about all of the vacancies at the Department of State he batted away any notion that it would harm the U.S. in an increasingly troubled world, asserting:

“I’m the only one who matters.”

That earned him, without challenge, my Grumpy Abe  Linguistic Lunacy (GALL) Award of the year.

* * * * *

After igniting grave protests around the globe with his insufferably dangerous decision to move the U.S. embassy  to  Jerusalem, Trump headed south to campaign for Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for the Senate who is so disreputable that you couldn’t make him up. No problem for Trump, who roams the earth like a pool hustler with a warped cue stick (and mind!).

Under Herr Trump, racism, white supremacy, dishonesty, and avarice have become fashionable at the highest levels of the oval office.  If Moore wins on Tuesday he will become the Republicans’ gift that keeps on giving to Democrats.

* * * * *

Although medieval historians tell us that the merciless plagues (Black Death) of the 14th Century were documented  by hundreds of texts, they could become marginal in the wake of the current plague of the Trump Era.

Categories: Politics

Well the bar rooms and smelly bordellos

Balloon Juice - 5 hours 12 min ago

Some very strange stuff went on at last night’s Roy Moore rally. Here’s one of his friends talking about a visit they made to a Vietnamese brothel where there were lots of underage girls. The fact that Moore left without sampling the wares is supposed to prove he’s not a pedophile.

Here’s Roy Moore’s wife talking about how one of her attorneys is a Jew. It looks like some Amy Schumer skit gone horribly wrong.

Categories: Politics

Donald Trump Furious At Nikki Haley For Defending Women's Right To Speak Out

Crooks and Liars - 5 hours 52 min ago
Donald Trump Furious At Nikki Haley For Defending Women's Right To Speak Out

The AP is reporting that Donald Trump was infuriated by Niki Haley's words on CBS' Face The Nation Sunday morning.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations told host John Dickerson that women "should be heard" if they "felt violated."

"They should be heard, and they should be dealt with," Nikki Haley said after saying they were heard before the election. She continued, "And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up,” Haley said.

This is a very candid statement from one of Trump's own since he has a multitude of women alleging he sexually assaulted them. Three of them spoke out on Megyn Kelly's morning show today which put the pressure on the WH press Secretary.

Donald put himself back into the line of fire with his full throttled support of Judge Roy Moore's Senate campaign. He even recorded a robocall to support Moore.

read more

Categories: Politics

PCPs are not a panacea

Balloon Juice - 6 hours 47 min ago

There is a good story to tell about using more primary care providers (PCPs). They are fairly low cost providers who can provide a lot of touches to patients with chronic conditions. These frequent, low cost touches should allow chronic conditions to be managed more effectively. The relationship and trust built will lead patients to head to their PCPs instead of the emergency room. Everyone is healthier and the total cost of care decreases.

This is a great story.

It is increasingly looking like it is not a true story.

A new study from Virginia is being discussed in an NBER working paper:

We conducted a randomized controlled trial, enrolling low-income uninsured adults to determine whether cash incentives are effective at encouraging a primary care provider (PCP) visit, and at lowering utilization and spending. Subjects were randomized to four groups: untreated controls, and one of three incentive arms with incentives of $0, $25, or $50 for visiting a PCP within six months of group assignment. Compared to the untreated controls, subjects in the incentive groups were more likely to have a PCP visit in the initial six months. They had fewer ED visits in the subsequent six months, but outpatient visits did not decline. We also used the exogenous variation generated by the experiment to obtain causal evidence on the effects of a PCP visit. We observed modest reductions in emergency department use and increased outpatient use, but no reductions in overall spending.

This is strong evidence. It is in an randomized control trial. It is a study where the study population is prone to have avoidable emergency room visits and non-regualr care. Everything is set up to see significant impacts of PCP care coordination.

And then nothing much.

This is important. The PCP care coordination story is a story that sounds good. It sounds plausible. And we have been investing a tremendous amount of time, effort and intellectual firepower into encouraging more primary care coordination.

And the evidence is shaky. It is either not there, or it is just bloop singles.

Categories: Politics

Rally Speaker Tells Voters About Roy Moore Visit To Bordello With Child Prostitutes

Crooks and Liars - 6 hours 51 min ago

Roy Moore pulled out all the stops at his final campaign rally before the upcoming election, bringing friends and family forward to testify to how fine, upright and upstanding he is.

One of them, Bill Sailing, shared a story from Moore's time in Vietnam, where they "accidentally" landed at a brothel featuring child prostitutes.

Sailing's story begins in Vietnam with the imminent departure of a buddy, who invited Moore and Sailing to a private club in the city to celebrate with "a couple of beers."

Generally, "private clubs" weren't just bars. But Moore and Sailing weren't expecting anything more than the equivalent of an officer's club or something, or at least that's the story he told.

According to Sailing, when they arrived they were shocked -- SHOCKED -- to find activities that were considerably more sinful than they expected. “I could tell you what I saw but I don’t want to,” Sailing said mischievously.

“There were certainly pretty girls. And they were girls. They were young. Some were very young,” Sailing told the audience.

But Sailing also said that Moore was shocked by the sight of prostitutes, telling Sailing they should leave right away.

According to Sailing, he and Moore asked their friend to leave with them but he didn't care to, so they left without him. Apparently child prostitution is bad if you see it, but it's fine to leave a pal there to enjoy those children.

Sailing finished the story by telling his audience the third man returned in the morning on the back of a motorcycle.

read more

Categories: Politics

Mike's Blog Round Up

Crooks and Liars - 6 hours 52 min ago
Mike's Blog Round Up

Happy Alabama election day! Remember -- either we'll send Doug Jones to the Senate, or we'll get to hang Roy Moore around the neck of every Republican next November.

Fair and Unbalanced: Trump's lawyer doesn't want to acknowledge how big a deal the Flynn indictment is.

Progressive Eruptions: The Republicans are cementing their status as the party of coddling molesters. Who's soft on crime now?

Dave Dubya's Freedom Rants: There's a dangerous new cult operating in the US.

Blue in the Bluegrass: Separation of Church and State? What's that?

Bonus link: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.....

Blog round-up by Infidel753. To recommend a post, send link to mbru [at] crooksandliars [dot] com.

Categories: Politics