Monday Link Dump

Hey. Weekend is done.

  1. Meta-linking (linking of links), and I will say, the point on the “trauma” is spot on.
  2. So, Christmas and Islam.
  3. Teh noodity meets the Constitution.
  4. One of those models looks like it’s still tracking the data, although it does it by predicting very little warming.
  5. Powder go bang.
  6. Obamacare and a twist.
  7. Nicknames and history.
  8. Danger! Danger! Danger!(Will Robinson?)
  9. Snarf.
  10. Click through, it’s worth your while.
  11. Oddly enough actual leadership involves people following your lead. Doesn’t matter what you say, if you can’t get people to follow your lead … and in fact they resist and go the other way either your a bad leader (and didn’t realize they’d not follow) or you intended the result that was achieved (the not following).

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8 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    One of those models looks like it’s still tracking the data, although it does it by predicting very little warming.

    Where is the claim there’s been no warming since 1996? The 2nd graph clearly shows a warming trend. What’s also problematic is surface temperature readings seem to exclude ocean water temps. Since water is much more dense than air, and covers 2/3 of the globe, oceans can potentially store a lot more heat energy than air or surfaces do.

  2. Boonton says:

    #6 Obamacare

    Always peal back the onion. Exactly what changes is Obamacare demanding of Harvard’s plan? None really. But this paragraph may reveal what’s going on:

    The university is adopting standard features of most employer-sponsored health plans: Employees will now pay deductibles and a share of the costs, known as coinsurance, for hospitalization, surgery and certain advanced diagnostic tests. The plan has an annual deductible of $250 per individual and $750 for a family. For a doctor’s office visit, the charge is $20. For most other services, patients will pay 10 percent of the cost until they reach the out-of-pocket limit of $1,500 for an individual and $4,500 for a family.

    Previously, Harvard employees paid a portion of insurance premiums and had low out-of-pocket costs when they received care.

    So what is causing this from Obamacare?

    The guide said that Harvard faced “added costs” because of provisions in the health care law that extend coverage for children up to age 26, offer free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and, starting in 2018, add a tax on high-cost insurance, known as the Cadillac tax.

    Well if this is the hell Harvard is moving too what is the current benefit?

    Previously, Harvard employees paid a portion of insurance premiums and had low out-of-pocket costs when they received care.

    Not very clear but if doctors visits are moving to $20 what could they have been before?

    Well it sounds like preventative services like mammograms and colonoscopies were already nearly fully covered. The Cadillac tax isn’t a factor for another 3 years. Keeping kids on from 18 to 26 does add some cost, but not much. This is probably the cheapest of all age groups to insure AND the law says if your adult kids work at a job that offers insurance they have to accept that insurance first.

    It smells like Harvard is using Obamacare as cover to try to scale back what is an excessively generous health plan which is probably costing a fortune.

    Here we bring up the reason we have copays and coinsurance. Back in the 70’s RAND did a big study looking at what happened when people had different types of insurance. Some insurance basically paid for everything, some had modest coinsurance and some required large coinsurance. The results were when everything is covered, there’s a lot of excessive and expensive treatment that happens. When coinsurance gets high, though, consumers start getting penny wise and pound foolish, skipping preventative and screening care leading to more expensive problems later. (Think of the grandmother who skips her blood pressure pills every other day to try to stretch a 30 day supply to 45 or 60 days).

    Lesson: The more libertarian vision of having everyone stock up big medical savings accounts and using high deductible plans is probably not going to be the answer, but the unlimited ‘everything covered’ Cadillac plans are also probably destructive in leading to unnecessary inflation. Harvard is getting with the mainstream program, and they probably would be doing this even if Obamacare didn’t pass. Blaming Obamacare is a deflection tactic.

  3. Boonton says:

    Re 10 and 11:

    I think the most potent sentence in this debate is:

    You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. – http://marginalrevolution.com/?s=warrants+ferguson

    ‘Broken windows’ was a great starting point when crime was very high. Now it has become a simmering low level daily harassment that happens mostly in minority and poor communities. It is unfortunate that instead of focusing on this, the debate seems instead to put a lot of high stakes in a handful of cases that have captured the public attention. Whether or not one particular cop was right or wrong (or inbetween) in one shooting in Ferguson doesn’t address Ferguson’s poor relationship with its police. If the officer had been indicted and convicted, that would still leave the rest of the community and the rest of the police still at odds.

    Christopher Hitchens put his finger on this back in Bloomberg’s time:

    In fact, the law these days is very clear. It states that New York City is now the domain of the mediocre bureaucrat, of the inspector with too much time on his hands, of the anal-retentive cop with his nose in a rule book, of the snitch willing to drop a dime on a harmless fellow citizen, and of a mayor who is that most pathetic and annoying figure—the micro-megalomaniac.

    So there are laws that are defensible but unenforceable, and there are laws impossible to infringe. But in the New York of Mayor Bloomberg, there are laws that are not possible to obey, and that nobody can respect, and that are enforced by arbitrary power. The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law. Tyranny can be petty. And “petty” is not just Bloomberg’s middle name. It is his name.

    In the space of a few hours late in November, I managed to break a whole slew of New York laws. That is to say, I sat on an upended milk crate, put my bag next to me on a subway seat, paused to adjust my shoe on a subway step, fed some birds in Central Park, had a cigarette in a town car, attempted to put a plastic frame around a vehicle license plate, and rode a bicycle without keeping my feet on the pedals at all times. I also had a smoke in a bar and at a table in a restaurant. Only in the latter two cases would I hitherto have been knowingly violating a city ordinance.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2004/02/hitchens200402

    Of course Hitchens, upper class white guy in a white suit to boot was not bothered by ‘broken window’ policing during his crime spree. But consider ‘stop and frisk’ with its 600,000 stops to get illegal guns off the street resulting in 600 guns…1,000 unnecessary stops to get 1 illegal gun.

    Yes police unions have been especially bad in this debate. It happens. “Broken windows” works for them. Arresting people for what should be ticket offenses means plenty of hours of billable time but comparably low risk. Even better the move towards big data means you can argue for pay increases based on metrics like the number of stops/tickets/arrests. Compare ‘community policing’ where a cop may spend an entire day on the street but make not arrests or tickets. Was he lazy or productive? His boss may make that judgement in an evaluation but clearly a union would rather have more objective measures that are not subject to favoritism or bias.

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    2nd graph is 50+ years. The flat section is the last 18.

    The 2nd graph clearly shows a warming trend. What’s also problematic is surface temperature readings seem to exclude ocean water temps.

    Yes, but we don’t have direct (without proxy) data for water temps but satellites can take direct tropospheric atmo measurements (which due to your big ocean volume and heat sink & heat conductivity probably also means those atmospheric tropo temps are a good proxy for the water temps, eh?)

  5. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Hmm. The meta-lesson then is that the Gruber types only fooled those people like the Harvard professors, eh?

  6. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    The “high stakes cases” as you put it is, of course, a lie. The frequency of cop’s killed and cops killing suspects is not appreciably different than last year, last month, or two years ago. Public perception, distorted by the media elite and other activists has distorted this so that the average person (and many bloggers it seems) think this is “on the rise” right now.

    The problem isn’t actually broken windows. You are wrong. Mr Hitchen’s problem here isn’t that he broke a whole passel of laws being an ordinary bloke, it’s the ultra regulatory state (which seeing your cheerleading for ACA and other rampant regulation you approve … except when you don’t) is not the police it’s the million pages of statues which can be applied and allegedly affect ordinary life. The problem isn’t the mediocre bureaucrat or the inspector. It’s the knuckleheads in the legislatures who keep writing more and more and not spending any time (or very little) removing any.

    Broken windows, in the sense of keeping the law and order in the little things, keeping parks nice, &c remains a good idea. But they way to do it is not the OSHA style micromanagement and producing a zillion new regulations. It is on the other hand, fining or hassling (searching for illegal weapons perhaps?) people, not because you are “randomly stopping and frisking” but because that kid was being an asshat and a public annoyance verbally abusing somebody. So you tell him to stop and lean on him a bit to put some bite in it. That’s broken windows. It’s (ala Ferguson) not taking crap from some a-hole who is walking drunk down the middle of the street insulting everyone he sees. When the cop stops him, lo and behold, the guy just beat on a store owner and robbed him. This kind of thing, if done right shouldn’t get the law abiding people of Ferguson angered at all. And it probably doesn’t. You think “3 warrants per household” doesn’t mean that 60-70% of the houses-holds got no warrants or fines at all. I suspect that is closer to the truth. Your economist buddy didn’t look at the distribution of those “fines and warrants”. I suspect it was a small percentage in the group that garners most of the police the attention.

    Back when I was growing up in Jersey, in Hopewell township (the High School I went to) three towns supplied + outlying areas supplied kids for one smallish high school. Hopewell for a short time had one of the highest crime rates in the state. All due to one small group of guys who were in their 20s.

    But you miss the race angle of Mr Schraub’s post (and his error). He was claiming that the “leadership” (Police admin) was “getting it right” and the rank and file and unions were not “getting it wrong” (where “it” in this is the race/racism response/angle to this (fabricated) crises. My point is that leadership doesn’t “get” anything at all right if those they are to lead aren’t following the lead. The only question for Mr Schraub at that point unanswered is whether he thinks the leadership was stupid or evil (that is whether they intentionally alienated forcing the “wrong” response from the rank and file, or whether they were smart (not-stupid) and intentionally provoked the response they desired while at the same time getting the accolades from the intellectual elite (as they did from Mr Schraub). So. Are those Police commissioners and mayors stupid or evil?

  7. Boonton says:

    Hmm. The meta-lesson then is that the Gruber types only fooled those people like the Harvard professors, eh?

    I would say the pattern for the last 30 years has been for copays, coinsurance and employer payments to inch upwards. Harvard, which already has a plan that is far above what the average employer offers, proposes to make their plan go from a Masarati plan to a Cadellic one. The workers are screaming as if the reduction was to a Kia plan and the administration blames fuzzy Obamacare ‘requirements’ to deflect blame and make it seem like it is all by forces totally out of their control.

    2nd graph is 50+ years. The flat section is the last 18

    See this graph at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_hiatus#mediaviewer/File:Warming_since_1880_yearly.jpg

    Your blogger appears to have cherry picked the late 90’s as a starting point (which was an exceptional warm year due to el nino) and ignored the fact that warming data indicates a stepwise function where you get hiatus periods of up to 15 years before warming picks up again.

    (which due to your big ocean volume and heat sink & heat conductivity probably also means those atmospheric tropo temps are a good proxy for the water temps, eh?)

    I would think not given how currents in both air and water complicate the flow of evergy (otherwise the earth would end up being a single uniform temperature). The eath’s ‘energy budget’ has been positive and that can be measured by measuring radiation coming in from the sun and radiating out from the earth. If that amount does not sum to zero and the atmosphere’s temp doesn’t change it’s pretty reasonable to assume the oceans are mopping up the difference for the time being.

    The “high stakes cases” as you put it is, of course, a lie. The frequency of cop’s killed and cops killing suspects is not appreciably different than last year, last month, or two years ago.,

    High stakes is the tendency for the public and media to focus on a single case as if it was carrying the water for the entire system.

    it’s the ultra regulatory state (which seeing your cheerleading for ACA and other rampant regulation you approve … except when you don’t),

    Like a law saying you can’t sell loose cigarettes on the streets?

  8. Boonton says:

    . The problem isn’t the mediocre bureaucrat or the inspector. It’s the knuckleheads in the legislatures who keep writing more and more and not spending any time (or very little) removing any.

    As you know, you’ve spent a lot of time trying to assess the burden of regulation but you failed pretty badly. For example, you tried to assert that the Gulf oil spill at the end of the day was going to be proven to have been caused by gov’t regulators telling the well operators what to do and that caused it to happen. Well years later and numerous lawsuits no such case has ever been even attempted let alone made.

    IMO you can’t model regulation without accounting for enforcement. A regime with a 60 mph speed limit enforced by cops who periodically ticket random speeders is not the same regime as one with cameras on every street that immediately print a ticket and mail it every time someone hits 61 mph. Building codes are very much like this, your local building inspector might be an easy going guy who is using the code to make sure your work is generally safe and in line with community tastes or he could be a hardnose whose writing you up because your setback is 5 inches too close to the street. When I make this argument libertarians hate it, they assert the law is the law and if the speed limit is 60 mph it doens’t matter if you’re randomly bothered by a nice cop who is more likely to give you a warning than ticket the first time or if you are executed by firing squad on the side of the road. But this is a difference and it does matter.

    So how would you solve the building inspector problem? Well one way might be for legislatures to scrub the code, take out a lot of small annoying requirements, make it just very broad and general being very specific only when it is something really important. This, though, empowers the building inspector to be very powerful. He can knock stuff down based on very vague feelings which he can of course back up by referring to the vague code while a different inspector can arrive at the opposite decision using the same methodology. This, of course, invites a lot of lawsuits as different people clash over what they think is a reasonable reading. Another way would be to pack the code. If the code is 10,000 pages long going into every screw, nail and bolt the contractor never has to worry about an over the top inspector. As long as he is within the letter of the code the inspector is powerless to deny him the permit. The solution clearly seems like it will always end up falling somewhere in the middle. You will always have complicated codes and you will always, to some degree, have to expect an inspector or cop to be a decent human being first who will exercise a measure of prosecutorial discretion wisely.

    You think “3 warrants per household” doesn’t mean that 60-70% of the houses-holds got no warrants or fines at all. I suspect that is closer to the truth. Your economist buddy didn’t look at the distribution of those “fines and warrants”. I suspect it was a small percentage in the group that garners most of the police the attention.

    It does seem unbalanced if the community’s crime rate is at or below average which is the problem. Of course I’m sure the distribution of warrants is not even, that is almost certainly the problem. Most people (like Hitchens when he was alive) will never get one, while a minority will get so many that even bothering to give the system a little respect will become pointless. In the Garner case, for example, the cop had previously been accused of forcing two men to strip naked in the street for a search (charges dismissed against the men). How many times have you been strip searched by a cop? If it happened once to you, you’d probably be shocked but ultimately chalk it up to a single bad cop or a freak misunderstanding. If it happens to you several times a month it’s not going to be long before your contempt for the entire system simmers and builds. 599,400 fruitless searches in the street to get 600 illegal guns is not a victory for law enforcement, it’s a horrible defeat.

    And no doubt if you started to look closely at those warrants you would probably discover few of them actually addressed actual criminals who make neighborhoods and parks not nice places to be. You’d probably find a lot issued for minor traffic offenses with court dates scheduled in the middle of the workweek or offensses that carried huge fines for a low income person (in NJ say you forget your wallet one day that has your car insurance, registration and drivers license….that’s $500 for each missing document even if the computer tells the cops you are totally valid).

    The “high stakes cases” as you put it is, of course, a lie. The frequency of cop’s killed and cops killing suspects is not appreciably different than last year, last month, or two years ago

    Why is this relevant at all? The frequency of the ex-wives of NFL players being knifed to death on their front step is very, very low. By this logic then no one should have paid any attention to the OJ murder case?