I have the best job in the world. I can make up fantastic constructions: frothy lies, that amuse me and respond to the rule of cool. And the best part is that I don’t have to REALLY lie. I mean people know I’m making this up. Believe it or not, novels used to get frowned […]
For some empirical backup, consider an April study from Michael Luca at Harvard Business School and Dara Lee Luca at Mathematica Policy Research. They used Bay Area data from the review websiteYelp to estimate that a $1 minimum-wage hike leads to a 14% increase in “the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant.”
Also, this clip…
In March 2017, a 15-year-old girl in Chicago was lured into a basement and gang-raped by five to six males. The girl was threatened with a pit bull if she tried to flee; she was picked up and thrown around. One of the participants live-streamed the rape on Facebook. So far, two boys, 15- and 14-years-old, have been arrested in the attack. The 15-year-old slapped the girl in the head while she was performing oral sex on him. Up to 40 people watched the rape live; none reported it to the police or to Facebook.
Since then, threats, taunts, social-media bullying, and physical assaults have been directed at . . . the victim and her family, not at the rapists. A group of girls beat the victim’s twelve-year-old sister last week, reports DNA Info Chicago. One of the girl’s attackers said: “Why [did] you send my brother to jail,” according to her mother. You want to see an example of “blaming the victim?” This is it. People ring the family’s doorbell and surround the home in a menacing way, the girl’s mother has told the Chicago Tribune. The victim has been moved to an undisclosed location to escape the constant insults and bullying, but the family has not yet raised enough money through a GoFundMe campaign to follow her.
Yet the Left continues to pump out a series of interlocking lies: that “rape culture” is a product of Western civilization exclusively, practiced primarily by heterosexual white males, and its most egregious seat is the pacific American college campus; that minorities are victimized predominantly by white racists; that police presence and proactive tactics in minority neighborhoods are a function of bias, not crime; that disparate racial rates of school discipline reveal teacher bias; that the disciplining of black girls, in particular, constitutes racial injustice. The Left gets away with these lies because of the virtual taboo on the reporting of inner-city dysfunction. This Sunday, a mass shooting broke out in Chicago at a memorial for a Hispanic gang member shot and killed hours earlier. Two masked men with rifles opened fire on the crowd gathered at the shrine, killing a woman and man and wounding eight others, reports DNA Info Chicago. The national media barely cocked an eye. Last year in Chicago, 4,300 people were shot, one person every two hours, including two dozen children under the age of twelve. Had the victims been white, there would have been a revolution. But because the victims were overwhelmingly black, no one pays attention, both out of a reluctance to call attention to black crime and out of an unspoken assumption on the part of the media that that is simply what black people do.
Until that liberal condescension changes, liberal pieties about “rape culture” and other alleged sins of Western society will continue to be just so much obfuscating nonsense.
Alternate history buffs, take note.
Was the industrial revolution a highly unlikely event all along, or had it become “industrial revolution time”?
The same thing can be asked of events in the history of life on Earth. Life itself seems to have arisen as soon as conditions on the planet weren’t absolutely lethal, but a number of steps seem to have been very unlikely. It took hundreds of millions of years to get to multicellular organisms, for example — or did multicellularity arise when it did because conditions were finally right?
Social Justice Snowflakes
I learn from my patients every day about the benefits, limitations and contradictions of their health insurance. One charming 60-year-old with severe seasonal allergies insists on seeing me every few weeks this time of year, even though I tell her she doesn’t need to — her antihistamines and nasal spray treatment rarely changes. But she worries that her allergies could be hiding an infection, so I investigate her sinuses, throat, lungs and ears. I reassure her, and her insurance (which she buys through New York’s Obamacare exchange) covers the bill.
If she was responsible for more than a small co-payment for these visits, I’m sure I would see her less often.
We pride ourselves on being a compassionate society, and insurance companies use this to manipulate us into sharing the costs of other people’s excessive health care. Meanwhile, 5 percent of Americans generate more than 50 percent of health care expenses. Why shouldn’t a patient who continues to see me unnecessarily pay more?
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The government’s job is to maintain public health and safety. It should ensure that insurance plans include mandatory benefits like emergency, epidemic, vaccine and addiction coverage. The Republican bill would let states apply for waivers to define these benefits differently; it would be a big mistake to drop such coverage entirely. But Obamacare went well beyond these essentials, by mandating an overstuffed prix fixe meal filled with benefits like maternity and mental health coverage that drove smaller insurers with fewer options out of the market. The few that remain often have a monopoly, and premiums rise.
Speaking of compassion, how about some for the 20-something construction worker who can’t afford to pay his rent because his premiums help subsidize overusers like my allergy sufferer? Why shouldn’t a patient who is risk-averse pay more for coverage she might never need, while that construction worker be allowed to choose a cheaper insurance plan that might cover only the essentials?
In addition to limiting the menu of essential benefits, the House bill would let states create high-risk pools for patients with pre-existing conditions who had let their insurance coverage lapse, and who could then be charged premiums more in keeping with their health care needs. This is the only way to make insurance affordable for most consumers; pre-existing conditions will continue to drive up premiums if everyone is compelled to pay the same price.
These risk-pool premiums can and should be subsidized by the government. A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that high-risk pools can work, but have been historically underfunded. Trumpcare should change that — though it will cost more than the House bill’s $8 billion in additional funding. Drastic cuts to Medicaid should also be reversed, which could help the bill pass the Senate.
But the bill is on the right track. Americans believe that insurance provides access to care, when in fact it is the gatekeeper that often denies care. Many think Obamacare is generous, and yet I often have to fight for essential care for my patients. We need to be more pragmatic, and less emotional, about this issue.
Jimmy Kimmel’s contention this week that a child like his would not receive lifesaving surgery for his congenital heart problem without Obamacare may tug at the heartstrings, but it is neither fair nor accurate. Employer-based health insurance, which covers 170 million Americans, including, no doubt, Mr. Kimmel, would have paid for this infant’s needs with or without Obamacare. Even if the Republican plan replaced Obamacare, and even if the infant didn’t have employer-provided insurance, the treatment would still be covered, either through a traditional plan or a high-risk pool. And at the end of the day, a federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, guarantees this kind of treatment, whether we have Obamacare or Trumpcare.
The final question concerns the skyrocketing costs of innovation, and how one-size-fits-all insurance can possibly continue to pay for it. My 93-year-old father, a retired engineer, just received a $50,000 catheter-inserted aortic valve, which was covered by Medicare. But if all such high-tech devices are covered, it will be practically impossible for any insurance company not to go belly-up. The tax-free savings accounts that the House bill would expand and make more flexible are a far better way to pay for this kind of care. Shouldn’t my father and those like him be asked to save their own money for just this sort of rainy day?
Or should we continue to overload health insurance with all our fears and expectations?
Contrary to popular belief, ObamaCare was never a healthcare bill. As healthcare, it was designed to fail, and then be replaced by single payer. It was actually an outrageous tax increase. It was designed to pull billions of dollars out of the pockets of the American taxpayer and into the hands of the feds, where it could be spent on all sorts of priorities the Left holds dear,with the side benefit of completely subsidizing healthcare for important Democrat voting groups. It may have dismally failed as healthcare policy, but it definitely succeeded as a money machine for the Obama Administration’s progressive agenda.
In order for climate change, global warming, the new ice age, weather distortion, or whatever to be a major cause for concern, we need to believe three things:
- The temperature of the planet is actually changing (usually, increasing);
- Some significant fraction of this change is due to human activity (and therefore humans can have a significant impact on this change by altering their activity);
- The temperature change will lead to catastrophe.
I think all serious students of the climate accept that the planet is warmer. At the very least, we’re emerging from an ice age, and this will show up as a warmer planet.
We’ve been measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and watching them go past 400 parts per million. Since CO2 blocks and absorbs certain frequencies of light, it’s hard to imagine an increase in concentration having no effect. Perhaps if every human quit burning stuff, this trend could be reversed, but realistically that’s not happening. The proposals that are being described as “urgent” would have a trifling effect on human CO2 production. China and India aren’t going to change absent a major economic collapse.
It’s possible that technological fixes, including “geo-engineering” might succeed in changing the temperature of the planet, but the solutions being proposed don’t seem likely to actually solve anything.
What is the net effect of any kind of warming? Of one degree? Five degrees? Ten degrees? Each of these would have some effects. Some of the effects will be good, some bad, and some neutral. With any change, if you count up the negative effects and ignore the positive ones, you can show that it’s a negative change. We hear about how bad a given temperature increase will be, but have we fallen into the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality? Perhaps the benefits of a temperature increase don’t make for sexy headlines, and so tend not to be reported? Or even looked for?
I really wasn’t going to do much with this Skeptical Science post by Rob Honeycutt called “Correcting Warren Meyer on Forbes,” but several readers have asked me about it and its Friday and I am sort of bored in the office so here goes. I may skip parts of his critique. That does not necessarily mean I agree with it, but several sections of this article are just so trivial (let’s defend Al Gore!) that it is hard to work up any energy about it. As reference, my original article published back in 2012 is here.
Dammit Meyer, You Changed The Words to the Doxology!
The author begins his critique this way:
Mr. Meyer opens with a misleading attempt to frame the issue as a debate on “catastrophic man-man global warming theory.” This approach conflates two very distinct elements of the science on anthropogenic climate change. Nowhere in the published scientific literature can you find the phrase he uses. When I did a search on this term in Google Scholar, what did I find? Mr. Meyer’s Forbes article. Also searching “catastrophic man-made climate change” I get a smattering of non-research related materials coming from people who rejecting human influence on climate. Meyer has formed a completely irrelevant and fabricated framing of the issue for the basis of his discussion.
In Mr. Meyer’s article he claims this is the “core theory” and states that he will use the IPCC as the primary source for this, even though there is no place where the IPCC frames climate change in this manner.
Hey, thanks for making my point! I always start climate discussions by saying that supporters of climate action are frequently sloppy with the way they frame the debate. They use phrases like “climate denier” for folks like me which make no sense, since I don’t deny there is a climate. Clearly “climate denier” is a shortcut term for my denying some other more complex proposition, but what proposition exactly? Merely saying “global warming” as a proposition is sloppy because it could include both natural and manmade effects. Climate change is even sloppier (I would argue purposely so) because it obscures the fact that deleterious effects from anthropogenic CO2 must be via the intermediate stage of warming (i.e. there is no theory that CO2 causes hurricanes directly).
With this in mind, I begin nearly every discussion of climate change by doing what many proponents of climate action fail to do — I am very precise about the proposition I am going to discuss. It’s not just global warming, it’s man-made global warming. And since the climate alarmists are urging immediate action, it is not just man-made global warming but it is catastrophic man-made global warming, ie man-made global warming with negative effects so severe it requires urgent and extensive actions to circumvent. I think that is a very fair reading of what folks like James Hansen have in mind (if he does not think it will be catastrophic, why is he getting arrested in front of power plants?) The fact that Google searches do not yield these precise terms but rather yield millions of hits for meaningless phrases like “climate denier” just go to support one of the themes of my original piece, that the climate debate is made much muddier by the sloppy framing of the issues in the media.
However, while Mr. Honeycutt criticizes my framing as non-canon, he offers no specific critiques of how the phrase “catastrophic man-made global warming” might be wrong and offers no alternative framing. I really do try to pass Bryan Caplan’s ideological Turing test on this stuff, so I am interested — if advocates for climate action do not think “Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming” is a fair statement of their theory, what would they use instead?
This is how you get a third party.