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Daily Kos - 15 hours 47 min ago

At Kagro in the Morning World Headquarters, we got off pretty easy on Friday the 13th, all told.

But we did find ourselves in one good news/bad news situation. The good news is, the long-awaited repair work for the flooring is finally scheduled! The bad news is, it’s happening today and tomorrow, right in the middle of show time!

We’re going to forge ahead with a live show today, anyway, and hope that putting a closed door between us and the repair work gets us through the day. We might have to pre-record our Tuesday show, though.

But we’ll “do it live” today!

Mostly because I didn’t have the heart to tell Greg Dworkin we’d have to skip another call!

Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET!

Podcasts! They’re hip! They’re hot! Everyone’s got one! But Daily Kos has had one since slightly after that point at which you would have been able to say that we had one before it was cool. Only we do ours over a live stream, every weekday morning from 9-11 ET. So the news is as fresh as the morning dew! Delivered and interpreted for you by David Waldman, Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter, and even Armando.

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KITM is not immune to Friday the 13th luck, but nothing David Waldman couldn’t reboot us out of. Maybe it was all a Russian plot, because as it is turning out, everything is. Russia is using LinkedIn as a tool of war. Russians are manipulating us on Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokémon Go. Facebook’s Russian connections are being shown to go deeper with each passing day. Facebook has taken down data and thousands of posts to obscure the reach of Russian disinformation. Twitter’s deleted data is potentially crucial to Russia probes. Oh, and Russia’s propaganda campaign infiltrated Instagram, too. Russia recruited YouTubers to bash Hillary over rap beats. Homegrown racists join with the Russians to fight globalism, and brown people. The gun-packing King of Instagram couldn’t shop out the yellow streak that appeared down his back during the Vegas massacre. An officer on the scene was not a fan. In a case of indexing gone awry, an elite’s history of pedophile rape is overlooked to gain elite credibility for a story.

(Thanks to Scott Anderson for the show summary! Please help me pay him more!)

Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: State Senate leader Kevin de León will run against California Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Daily Kos - 15 hours 47 min ago

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

CA-Sen: California state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced on Sunday that he would challenge California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a fellow Democrat, in next year’s top-two primary.

De León, who also considered running for governor, did not mention Feinstein in his announcement, but argued that the Golden State "deserves a senator that will not just fully resist the Trump presidency, but also understands the issues that most Californians face every day: That’s fighting for Medicare for All. That’s fighting for our Dreamers. That’s fighting against climate change." That's a not-so-subtle jab at Feinstein, who has always had an uneasy relationship with state progressive activists, and made things worse in August when she called for "patience" for Trump, adding that, "The question is whether he can learn and change. If so, I believe he can be a good president." However, it remains to be seen how many California Democrats actually want to replace their longtime senator.​

Campaign Action

​De León, who represents part of the city of Los Angeles in the state Senate, is well-connected, and he could be able to raise the type of cash necessary to compete in this ultra-expensive state. But as we've written before, California's top-two primary system adds some hurdles to his already tough task. In the Golden State, all candidates run on one primary ballot, and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election. It's extremely unlikely that Feinstein, who has the support of some influential California Democrats like Sen. Kamala Harris and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, will take third place or worse. This means that anyone hoping to meet her in the general election will need to brush past all her other rivals. That's where things start to get complicated.

California is a very blue state, but if Republicans consolidate behind one candidate, that person could take enough support to lock a non-Feinstein Democrat out of the general election. Team Red is already wary about not having a candidate in the general election for governor, so they have extra incentive to try to get someone through the top-two Senate primary. If Republicans don't have any candidates in the general election for governor or Senate, it could keep conservatives from showing up in November in key House races that actually are winnable for Republicans.

Categories: Politics

How is a DxOMark score calculated anyway?

iDownloadBlog - 15 hours 48 min ago

In the past few years, it seems as if the unveiling of new phones has been accompanied by a new name in specification bragging rights. If you follow smartphone announcements or if you have seen any number of introductory headlines in passing, there is a fair chance you have heard the name DxOMark.... Read the rest of this post here

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Categories: Misc

Mike's Blog Round Up

Crooks and Liars - 15 hours 49 min ago
Mike's Blog Round Up

What Would Jack Do: In response to the Las Vegas massacre, Republicans promise swift and decisive action against.....abortion.

Green Eagle: Here's a nasty little episode from Roy Moore's past.

The Mahablog: Harvey Weinstein types exist all across the political spectrum. No one should turn a blind eye to an abuser just because they like his politics.

Miscellanea Agnostica: Trump is showing strong leadership in fighting one war -- however, it's a war that doesn't exist.

Bonus link: This Britisher finds the US a bit confusing.

Blog round-up by Infidel753. Tips to mbru [at] crooksandliars [dot] com.

Categories: Politics

2018's Most Important Primaries

Crooks and Liars - 15 hours 49 min ago
 2018's Most Important Primaries

If you've been with Blue America for enough years, you'll remember the excruciating battles we backed for Donna Edwards, Beto O'Rourke and Matt Cartwright when they took on corrupt old conservative Democrats in, respectively, Maryland, Texas and Pennsylvania. All three, running as reformers and progressives, prevailed. But there is nothing in politics more difficult, no task more painful-- and few as important-- as taking on an entrenched incumbent of one's own party.

Each of those districts was solidly blue and the only possible accountability for bad behavior could come in the form of a primary. No Republican was ever going to beat Al Wynn in Prince George's County (D+28), Sylvestre Reyes in El Paso (D+17) or even Tim Holden in northeast Pennsylvania (D+4).

All three had become untreated cancers on the Democratic Party but the institutional party circled the wagons around each to ward off the reformers. It was very painful for each of them, especially Matt and Donna who were screamed at and lambasted by the Democratic Party leadership. Pelosi and Hoyer raised money for the incumbents and spread malicious and malevolent lies about the challengers. 

read more

Categories: Politics

Foxconn ships first iPhone X models out of China, but only 46,500 phones – Chinese report

9to5Mac - 15 hours 55 min ago

The first batch of iPhone X units have finally been shipped out of China, according to local site Xinhuanet.

They are said to be destined for two different countries, with a combined shipment of just 46,500 phones. This is (fairly obviously) reported to be a much smaller batch than that for previous models …


Categories: Misc

Misunderstanding the No CSR World

Balloon Juice - 16 hours 3 min ago

I want to highlight a story that I think has a fundamental mis-analysis of the individual health insurance policy world where there are no more Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies being paid.

Now the piece that has me scratching my head is from the Washington Examiner and a story about Senator Johnson (R-WI) willingness to appropriate CSR in exchange for policy concessions from Democrats:

Johnson told the Washington Examiner Friday he hopes to put out legislative text sometime next week on a proposal that funds insurer payments in exchange for reforms to Obamacare. His proposal includes expanding the duration of short-term plans and expanding health savings accounts….

Johnson said he is talking with some House Republicans to get their support for a deal. This is key because Republicans have derided the CSR payments as “bailouts.”…”I hope this would inform them what type of deal the Senate would have to come to with any hope of passing the House,” he said. “People need to realize there is a strong resistance to doing this among conservatives.”

Johnson also wants to let all Americans buy catastrophic plans, not just those under 30 years old as is the practice now.

He seems to think that Democrats need to offer policy concessions to protect the individual market. I think he is wrong.

At least forty states have taken steps to protect all on-Exchange buyers from CSR costs in 2018. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that all states will converge to local regulations that shift the entire cost of CSR to only Silver plans thus lifting the relative price point of the subsidized Benchmark plan. This higher premium for the Benchmark plan means that Bronze and Gold plans are significantly cheaper for subsidized buyers. Insurers will also quickly figure out that they need to offer unique Off-Exchange only Silver plans to protect the non-subsidized buyers.

The CBO also projects that not paying CSRs and having insurers cover their CSR costs through higher premiums will lead the federal government to spend an additional $194 billion dollars over a decade. Some of this increased cost is due to higher enrollment but most of the increased costs is not tied to increased claims costs. It is a shift from a narrowly structured, tightly means tested subsidy to a more broadly structured, loosely means tested subsidy. This gives states a lot of flexibility. Steven Chen at Health Affairs outlined how California could use CSR uncertainty to fund aggressive 1332 waivers.

These are acceptable long term outcomes for Democrats and liberals. More people get covered. If there are no 1332 waivers, the coverage expansion is expensive and inefficient. If states use 1332 waivers to subsidize off-Exchange individuals with a reinsurance program, more people will get covered and the spending will be more efficient. The transitional year of 2018 will be a scramble but from a political perspective, this is acceptable for Democrats as the public believes that the Republican party should be responsible for health care.

Inaction means, over the long run, more people will get low(er) out of pocket expenses/lower deductible insurance for lower premiums through structured, subsidized exchanges. I think that after a year or two, the expected social contract of what “acceptable” publicly subsidized insurance will move to Gold instead of Silver plans. Lower cost Gold plans and very affordable Bronze plans will increase long run uptake of PPACA insurance among people who earn between 200 percent and 400 percent FPL. This is a group with more political power than Medicaid recipients and Medicaid recipients were able to successfully mobilize to defend their interest this year. Appropriating CSR and thus maintaining the status quo is closer to conservative policy and ideological preferences than resetting the effective benchmark to Gold.

So as I argued in August, CSR inertia favors Democratic policy preferences. Senator Johnson does not realize that the ground has shifted.

All of this CSR stuff is convoluted, complex, unneccessary and weird in its implications and end results.

NB: Finally, I don’t understand the mechanical impact of expanding Catastrophic plans to everyone. Catastrophic plans are 57% AV plans that can be sold to people under the age of 30 or who otherwise cannot buy an ACA plan. Catastrophic plans are part of the shared risk adjustment process but they are not part of the common index rate. Catastrophic plans have their own risk adjustment but interact with the common index rate. Most counties will have a less expensive Catastrophic plan than the least expensive Bronze plan because the Catastrophic plan is covering a healthier group of people right now. However if Catastrophic is opened up to everyone, it is just a slightly funkily designed Bronze plan with no pricing advantage. If the conservative goal is to offer a lower premium but higher out of pocket plan, then they should really go to the Copper design at 50% actuarial value. This is a minor piece of mechanical confusion on my part.

Categories: Politics

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: We elected Chaos, we get chaos

Daily Kos - 16 hours 18 min ago

Michael Cohen/Boston Globe:

I’m the ultimate optimist. I’ve written countless articles about how the world is getting safer, freer, wealthier, and healthier — and it is. But the collective effect of Trump’s presidency has caused me — and many I’ve spoken with — to question our belief in and hopefulness about America. Reactionary forces that we all know existed, but many of us believed were on the decline, have been unleashed on the country. Racism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny, which of course have always existed, have become normalized and part of the political discourse in ways that are completely alien to our experience of American politics. Public corruption, the shredding of political norms, and a deficit of public compassion now seems to define our body politic. The presidency, which so many of us were raised to revere or at least respect, has become a punch line as we watch, in horror, a president who is unhinged, clearly unfit, and utterly incapable of doing his job.

Categories: Politics

Minimal. . .

The Daily Buddha - 16 hours 19 min ago

Many of us desire and accumulate unnecessary possessions like it’s an addiction.

However, according to Buddhist philosophy, it can be harmful to desire superficial objects. It doesn’t lead to much meaning in life and it can leave you in an endless process of desiring when the excitement of owning these material possessions wears off. The more you can remove “things” in your life, the less cluttered you’ll feel.This doesn’t just involve material possessions, either. You can ask yourself what’s really important in your life, and focus only on your highest priorities.
Always balance out what you own against what you really desire to be happy by asking yourself this:

What drives my desires for this object or state of being?

How will this shape me and my life for the next year?

In two years what will this mean to me?

A simplified life is a more enjoyable, easier to maintain and less complicated. It frees our minds and our time for more productive activities both physically and mentally. In the end its rarely objects or places we will remember over the minutes we spent with others living, laughing and loving.

Peace and Love, Jim

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Categories: Misc

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Blocks 322,000 Cheaters

Slashdot - 16 hours 19 min ago
The new anti-cheating system installed in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has been banning more than 6,000 suspected cheaters every day. An anonymous reader quotes PC Gamer: That's according to BattlEye, which polices the game's servers. Its official account tweeted yesterday that between 6,000 and 13,000 players are getting their marching orders daily. On Saturday morning, it had cracked down on nearly 20,000 players within the previous 24-hour period... In total, the service has blocked 322,000 people, double the number that was reported by the game's creator Brendan Greene, aka PlayerUnknown, last month. Yesterday the game had more than 2.2 million concurrent players.

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Categories: Misc

Plan Types aren’t everything

Balloon Juice - 16 hours 22 min ago

There are four basic plan design types. They are based on two elements. Is there a Primary Care Provider (PCP) gatekeeper requirement? Is there an out of network benefit for non-emergency changes?

That is it. There is nothing inherent to a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) that makes it immediately superior to an Health Management Organization (HMO) or an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan design. Plan type does not drive network.  So when you have to choose a plan during open enrollment, don’t automatically choose a PPO until you look at the trade-offs.

If we hold everything else equal, PPO plans will be more expensive than anything else.  They are the most permissive. They don’t require referrals from PCPs for services, and they will give some money to any provider anywhere in the country when they perform a service.  There is a lot of leakage from the contracted network.

EPO’s don’t pay out of network benefits.  They also don’t require primary care referrals for in-network specialists.  They tend to be a middle ground on the hassle factor.  HMO and Point of Service (POS) plans require PCP referrals for complex and specialty care.  Some plans will have stringent gatekeeper requirements.  Other insurers will have loose requirements.  That will vary.  HMO plans will not pay non-emergency out of network benefits.  POS plans will pay out of network charges to some degree.

Network size is independent of plan type.  Some HMO networks are massive and some PPO networks are tiny.  Some insurers will have one basic network that they use for multiple plan types.  It will all vary.

The top 20 plans in the country according to NCQA in 2015 were a mix of plan types.   Not all PPOs are great, not all HMO’s are bad.

When you are choosing your plan during open enrollment, please be ready to think through the trade-offs.

Categories: Politics

Jim Ingraham: No easy answers why Indians' magical season came to such an abrupt end

Medina Gazette - 16 hours 39 min ago
Even after having a few days to digest the dreary and demoralizing reality, Terry Francona was defiant.
Categories: Misc

Unstoppable: No. 9 Ohio State makes it look easy against Nebraska

Medina Gazette - 16 hours 39 min ago

LINCOLN, Neb. — Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett led eight straight touchdown drives against Nebraska before his night ended early in the fourth quarter Saturday night.

Categories: Misc

Wi-Fi WPA2 security cracked: Android & Linux most vulnerable, but iOS and macOS too [U]

9to5Mac - 16 hours 43 min ago

Update: Apple says the security vulnerability has been fixed in the beta versions of the next software updates to iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. These releases are expected this month (based on Apple Watch scheduled to gain Apple Music streaming in watchOS 4.1 in October.)

WPA2 – the encryption standard that secures all modern wifi networks – has been cracked. An attacker could now read all information passing over any wifi network secured by WPA2, which is most routers, both public and private.

Android and Linux are particularly vulnerable, being described as ‘trivial’ to attack, but all other platforms are vulnerable too, including iOS and macOS …


Categories: Misc

How to hide your caller ID when making a phone call on iPhone

iDownloadBlog - 16 hours 48 min ago

If you want to hide your phone number when calling someone on your iPhone, you have a handful of options available to you. In this post, we’ll go over these options and show you how to hide your caller ID and call someone without showing your number.... Read the rest of this post here

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Categories: Misc

Lunar Scientists Want to Hitch a Ride on America's Next Moonshot

Wired Science - 16 hours 49 min ago
At the beginning of the month, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the US, at long last, will go back to the moon. Well ... some day.
Categories: Bio

Dodgers walk off with 2-0 lead on Cubs thanks to Justin Turner's walk-off home run

Medina Gazette - 17 hours 11 min ago

LOS ANGELES — Justin Turner hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Categories: Misc

Cavaliers: LeBron James' status for season opener still up in the air

Medina Gazette - 17 hours 11 min ago

CLEVELAND — LeBron James tested his injured left ankle during a portion of practice Sunday, but it’s still not known if he’ll play in Cleveland’s season opener.

Categories: Misc

QB changes nothing: Kevin Hogan flounders in first NFL start as Browns fall to Texans for their 16th straight road loss

Medina Gazette - 17 hours 11 min ago

HOUSTON — Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson wants more.

Categories: Misc

Next QB up? Browns coach Hue Jackson not sure who will get starting nod next week

Medina Gazette - 17 hours 11 min ago

HOUSTON — Cleveland started a new quarterback Sunday.

Categories: Misc