Links+

Well, I’ve a little time tonight, having got my post out. So … a little links+remarks? See if I can’t stir the discussion pot a little.

  1. Jim Anderson wonders if stochastic methods are used for pitch selection. Which begs the question, how much are stochastic methods used in any strategy situations. In war, other sports involving strategy, and politics? It seems to me that if a primary objective is not being out-guessed by the opponent that explicitly relying on a random element to aid in strategic selection would be good.
    I frequently tell my kids that a coin toss is an excellent method of helping you make a decision if you cannot choose between two alternatives which to you seem equal. After you flip, if you don’t like the choice tells you of course … you should of course go with what you want to do and not be ruled by the coin. The coin in that case has demonstrated to you an unconscious preference. But if you’re OK with the coin … go with it. Your time agonizing over a decision is time not wasted any longer.
  2. A question asked, that Mr Obama should answer. He has a healthcare plan, but it’s secret. He has a plan to a nuclear free-world, but it’s secret. But that latter part needs to be outlined a little more explicitly especially as Iran is moving closer to a device of their own. Actually regarding his healthcare non-plan, he has posted of course on the White House site a thing which some call “a plan.” However it is not actually a plan. It is a list of criteria. Maths people talk of solutions for problems needing a demonstration of existence and uniqueness. For Mr Obama’s criteria there is a missing demonstration of existence (and uniqueness is not a requirement). His critics of course offer that existence is not possible given that particular set of criteria. Given that is a primary objection, the missing demonstration is problematic. The same holds true for his nuclear free plan. More here regarding nuclear Iran.
  3. Land reform. Land ownership and property rights are a vexing problem for much of the world. We in America forget that we went through not a little time of tribulation in the 19th century over land reform.
  4. As a father of two teenage (well, technically my youngest hits the big 13 in December) … I’m hoping this suggestion is wrong and furthermore is not a model which they will find need to follow. Fortunately Hollywood is not the source of all social narratives and examples. Actually seeing how often they get the narratives and a realistic description on film of the religious America wrong, it is likely that the situation may not be as dire as the it seems.
  5. Well, prison rape is indeed a problem. However, I’d offer that anyone who actually makes a claim to be Christian that hoping that rapists get raped in prison is not a problem, in that it isn’t for what we hope (for anyone). Hammurrabi is right out, no eye for an eye. We hope for only for repentance. 

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

23 comments

  1. Hammurrabi is right out, no eye for an eye.

    Hammurrabi? That’s from the bible! No wonder Christians get confused. 🙂

  2. Mark says:

    JA,
    The Bible? I was referring to this.

  3. Huh? “An eye for an eye” is in the Bible, but not in Hammarabi.

  4. Mark says:

    JA,
    According to Wiki, the Law of Hammurabi is an antecedent for the lex talonis principle on which eye/eye you note is based.

  5. Boonton says:

    A question asked, that Mr Obama should answer. He has a healthcare plan, but it’s secret.

    It is! Am I in trouble for linking to it the last time you asked about his plan? good thing I’m not in the UK with a state secrets law.

  6. That’s true, but the Bible is the source of the “eye for an eye” rule specifically.

  7. Mark says:

    JA,
    Yes, you a right … and I’ll also note I hadn’t realized that. I had been taught from “my yoot” that it was a Hammurabi thing.

  8. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    That wasn’t a plan. It was a list of incompatible criteria.

    Furthermore a “plan” doesn’t consistently refer to features of “my plan”. It would, you know, be more descriptive and concrete.

  9. I only noticed because I think it’s such a great example of both the primitiveness of Biblical morality AND the cherry-picking nature of not only mainstream Christianity, but Talmudic Judaism and even Biblical “literalists.” Nobody in this day and age thinks an eye for an eye is morally okay… and yet it’s right there in black and white in the book so many claim (variously) is…

    – the basis of all morality
    – written by God via Moses
    – divinely inspired
    – a great moral guide

  10. Boonton says:

    What exactly do you feel is missing?

  11. Mark says:

    JA,
    lex talonis is in fact a valued legal notion and one which we think is right and moral today? Why do you think it is not?

    What is not moral is thinking that I can take you arm and your eye for my eye, which is what it replaced (both the “I can take” vs the community or state will do the taking and the limiting of damages or punishment in recompense).

  12. I’m not talking about some non-literal “interpretation” of “an eye for an eye,” I’m talking about its literal meaning, which I’m pretty sure was the original intention of that verse.

    Yes, it’s better than “an arm and an eye for an eye,” but is that really the standard we want to hold this supposedly sacred book to? “Slightly less barbaric than its predecessors!!” I don’t think that’s how Christians and Jews are selling it to their children and other potential converts.

  13. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Anything resembling implementation details. It is nothing but vague guidelines, which are likely impossibly and likely contradictory, i.e., it will do “x” and will limit costs to “y”. It will get savings from “inefficiencies” … but does not mention of what the inefficiencies consist or what (new inefficiencies?) will replace them. There is no price accounting or analysis.

    Why do you think it is a plan if it refers to “the Plan” all the time.

  14. Boonton says:

    If you asked me to describe Medicare I’d say the following:

    When you’re young you pay a payroll tax into it. When you’re old you pay a relatively modest premium and are covered for medical expenses. There are a few cases where you can get Medicare before you get old, for example with kidney failure that requires a transplant or dyalisys.

    Now the above is, like it or not, a plan. Like it or not it does not include a price accounting. It does not include implementation details. For example, what is the payroll tax? What is covered? How is reimbursement decided? We could even get down to the nitty gritty of why a Medicare card is needed if it works through your Social Security number.

    But for purposes of discussion my brief summary is pretty good. Likewise Obama’s plan is hardly secret. If you want to zero in on one aspect in grueling detail we can do that and we very well will probably find question marks. But given your lackadasical approach to this topic, I suspect your complaint is not the lament of a wonk who wants more and more details but one of the hack seeking to find any opening to take partisan jabs.

  15. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Ok, let’s say that paragraph,

    When you’re young you pay a payroll tax into it. When you’re old you pay a relatively modest premium and are covered for medical expenses. There are a few cases where you can get Medicare before you get old, for example with kidney failure that requires a transplant or dyalisys.

    Is your plan. if I say, in your plan “the costs will balloon and won’t be controllable” what can you say. Must we devolve into a “yes it will” “no it won’t” argument? You don’t have enough there there for an objection to take hold. Is it mandatory? You’re description does not mention that. How does your plan cap? Does it cover everything? How does it control for new and more expensive medical technology?

    It doesn’t. Because it isn’t a plan. It’s a rough guideline and a description of criteria, which may or may not be compatible. Enough of a plan has to be outlined for a someone (and yes, that isn’t me, I’m not ‘into’ that sort of thing) has to run some number on it to see if it works.

  16. Boonton says:

    Is your plan. if I say, in your plan “the costs will balloon and won’t be controllable” what can you say. Must we devolve into a “yes it will” “no it won’t” argument? You don’t have enough there there for an objection to take hold. Is it mandatory?

    Actually we must because there isn’t enough in that structure to make a prediction. In fact, even a very detailed plan with exact formularies of drugs and procedures covered, precise premium rates and payroll tax rates etc. would still leave making predictions of the future open to speculation and disagreement.

    Yet Medicare is a plan and was a plan before it was adopted.

  17. Boonton says:

    Of course the ‘plan’ for Medicare leaves a lot of question marks. The premium seniors have to pay could be set very low or very high. Likewise the benefits the plan pays could also be low or high.

    In the world of all possible universes you can have an America where Medicare is a tiny program a handful of seniors use. You could also have a Medicare that is larger than Social Security and provides just about everything seniors could want including yearly vacations and massages.

    These question marks, though, really were question marks when Medicare was adopted. Where Medicare went after it was passed was as much a function of the original ‘thousand page bill’ as it was the decisions made afterwards and the decisions made afterwards were shaped by our experiences with Medicare after it was adopted.

    Mark’s demand for certainity sets up an interesting straw man. For example, everyone knows there’s cost savings available in Medicare but the only way to define it with the certainity that would suit Mark would be to essentially adopt price controls (“The costs of a hip replacement in 2018 shall be 25% less than it is now”), at which time Mark will turn around and attack because its, well, price controls.

    Obama’s plan leaves open a lot of question marks. What will the cost savings in Medicare turn out to be? If they are small will the subsidies to the private plans be small or will taxpayers accept supplementing them? Or will the response be to have smaller private plans that offer less but achieve coverage on the cheap? Many of these questions, IMO, *should not* be answered by the plan.

    What the plan does do is provide a baseline for debate, a baseline that Mark and many Republicans have refused to engage. At this point you will still find anti-reform arguments centered around horror stories from Canada and the UK as if single payer was the plan. In fact, the plan looks a lot more like Mitt Romney’s program in MA!

  18. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Yep,

    Of course the ‘plan’ for Medicare leaves a lot of question marks. The premium seniors have to pay could be set very low or very high. Likewise the benefits the plan pays could also be low or high.

    That’s why as stated it’s not a plan.

    Ms McArdle skewered the “efficiency” gambit already … so I don’t have to … and that’s not the argument against it. Efficiency savings are used almost reflexively when Congress or a President talks about new programs and spending. So … how often do these savings materialize. Try never. Why is this time unique?

    What the plan does do is provide a baseline for debate, a baseline that Mark and many Republicans have refused to engage

    Pot calling the kettle black. From the top down, the President refuses to engage and discuss the many good and pointed criticisms of the (actual) plans on the table, using straw men and poison-the-well, tactics demonizing the opponent (Pelosi calling those against it Nazis remember) and so on.

    Take just one point. the “Plan” calls for

    Offers a public health insurance option to provide the uninsured and those who can’t find affordable coverage with a real choice. The President believes this option will promote competition, hold insurance companies accountable and assure affordable choices. It is completely voluntary. The President believes the public option must operate like any private insurance company – it must be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects.

    There have been lots of discussion of public option and some pointed arguments against it. Where are these adressed? Or do you need to keep blindly repeating “neener neener neener you’re not giving any good arguments I can hear” (and you can’t hear them because your fingers are in your ears and you’re shouting neener neener … or repeating the mantra that there is nobody meeting raising good objections to “your plan.”

    Try one objection to the public option. We have a public option for one sector right now, the V/A. It sucks. Fix that before you put it on any larger plan. Do you want more. Spend five minutes with google and you’ll have a dozen or more hard questions not being met.

  19. Boonton says:

    That’s why as stated it’s not a plan.

    Why not? The structure is there in black and white. The factors that are not answered are variables or ‘settings’ if you want a machine analogy.

    Efficiency savings are used almost reflexively when Congress or a President talks about new programs and spending. So … how often do these savings materialize. Try never. Why is this time unique?

    I cited the cap-n-trade program for acid rain which achieved its reductions at 75% less cost than projected. More directly related to medicine was medicare part D which both came in at less than projected AND lowered Medicare costs by eliminating the need for some procedures. Some examples of savings we already know. For example Medicare will pay for dialysis or a kidney transplant but not anti-rejection drugs. Young people who get a transplant and then have to start skimping on drugs due to, say, a job loss, end up destroying their new kidney and end up on dialysis and back on the transplant list…both of which are much more expensive than simply providing the drugs.

    You can’t have it both ways. You guys want to hype ‘death panels’ and at the same time say there’s no savings possible in Medicare. ‘Death panels’ would be efficiency gone too far. Be a post modern conservative if you want but the gods of consistency will not be mocked forever.

    (Pelosi calling those against it Nazis remember) and so on.

    No such statement was made.

    There have been lots of discussion of public option and some pointed arguments against it. Where are these adressed?

    Do you want a plan or arguments? A plan doesn’t address the arguments against it. Medicare’s plan, for example, does not address Ronald Reagan’s famous campaign against it. If you want arguments for the public option or arguments that address criticisms of the public option look around you.

    Try one objection to the public option. We have a public option for one sector right now, the V/A. It sucks.

    Actually the VA is more analgous to a UK style single payer system (Canada would be a medicare style single payer system).

    Next argument please!

  20. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I have not “hyped” death panels. Show me one post when I wrote about death panels.

    Pelosi on the other hand did in fact make “such a statement”, you should google before you write.

    Do you want a plan or arguments? A plan doesn’t address the arguments against it.

    Untrue. Lots of plans include discussions of and then directly address common objections.

    Actually the VA is more analgous to a UK style single payer system (Canada would be a medicare style single payer system).

    Uhm, I don’t think that’s true. Because you are a vet you aren’t required to use the VA. It’s just the public option. Back up and try again. You “next’ed” prematurely.

  21. Boonton says:

    Uhm, I don’t think that’s true. Because you are a vet you aren’t required to use the VA. It’s just the public option. Back up and try again. You “next’ed” prematurely.

    Actually its more like the UK because the VA has their own doctors, nurses and hospitals that work on salary from the gov’t. Like the UK you don’t have to use the government’s doctors.

    The public option that has been discussed is nothing like this. That option is for insurance. The better way to describe it would be to imagine allowing anyone to buy into the Medicare system. That would be a ‘public option’ but the actual medical care you get is determined by which doctors & providers you go to.

    Pelosi on the other hand did in fact make “such a statement”, you should google before you write.

    Saying people who are acting like asses at Town Halls is not saying anyone who opposes the plan is a Nazi. Are the only people in opposition the yahoos shouting at Town Halls?

    I have not “hyped” death panels. Show me one post when I wrote about death panels.

    You are aware that the current Republican stance is to committ itself to absolutely no cuts in Medicare for any reason. You are familiar with, say, Elizabeth McCaughey’s attacks (you may know her for her TNR piece attacking Hillary’s plan many years ago, like your other blogger friend, her claim to credibility was that she supposedly read the entire bill)?

    Sometimes I wonder if despite all the reading and posting you’ve done on this if you’ve really followed the debate. Comparing the public option to the VA, for example, makes me seriously wonder.

  22. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    She said, “They were carrying swastikas.” when they weren’t. How is that not saying an false illusion to the Nazis?

    Sometimes I wonder if despite all the reading and posting you’ve done on this if you’ve really followed the debate.

    “All the reading and posting,” uhm seriously I have written what two (?) or three posts on healthcare. My position is unchanged, I think its a supply issue and the current “reform” is (a) expensive and (b) is missing the point (rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic) and (c) likely to make it more difficult to institute the changes in practice necessary to fix the supply problem.

    So, tell me. How does Obama’s “plan” address the supply issue and enable innovation?

  23. Boonton says:

    No Town Hall shouters were carrying swastikas anywhere? Why not and how do we know that? None of the documented signs held up by some Tea Partiers were available?

    I’m still not seeing how calling some shouters Nazis, even if its an unfair charge, is equating all who oppose the bill with Nazis. Again are the only people who oppose the bill Town Hall screamers?

    Re: supply and innovation-

    Actually they are two different things even though I can tell you seem to think they are interchangeable. While its great to get more of both whenever we can you haven’t really demonstrated that lack of healthcare coverage or exploding healthcare costs are either a supply or innovation issue.