Tux Life

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Dec 3

’70s Song Titles Appended with “Bitches”

"School’s Out, Bitches"
"Stairway to Heaven, Bitches"
"Won’t Get Fooled Again, Bitches"
"Baby I Love Your Way, Bitches"
"Get Up, Stand Up, Bitches"
"Psycho Killer, Bitches"
"Get Back, Bitches"
"Take It Easy, Bitches"
"Iron Man, Bitches"
"Close to You, Bitches"
"Rapper’s Delight, Bitches" 

 

You don’t always get to pick your heroes. Sometimes your heroes pick you.

You don’t always get to pick your heroes. Sometimes your heroes pick you.

My Star Wars Ep. 7 Cast:

Han Solo - Josh Brolin (or maybe Bradley Cooper)

Luke Skywalker - Ryan Gosling

Princess Leia - Anne Hathaway

Lando Calrissian - Idris Elba

R2D2 and C3PO - the dudes from Peep Show

Lovechild of Chewbacca and an ewok - Zach Galifianakis

Obamacare and the Employer Mandate: Cutting Jobs and Wages

abundanceofcaution:

Brian Blase has his eye on the PPACA (Health Care Reform, also known by some as “Obamacare”).

Brian is a former policy analyst in Health Studies at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Blase is an expert in health economics, with a particular focus on Medicaid. He is currently a doctoral candidate in economics at George Mason University, and he teaches a course in Economics and Public Policy at Georgetown University.

(George Mason faculty have twice won the Nobel Prize in Economics.)

This article does a good, high-level job of outlining some reasons why you are seeing news about the impact of Health Care Reform (“Obamacare”) on the economy and impact to employment.

I know many believe layoffs and hiring freezes, etc. are motivated by corporate greed. From where I sit (and where I have been seated), across the markets and on average, I have to disagree.

This is not a post about the merits of the law or the benefits of the law. This is a post about the impact of the law. It was not a surprise. It was the known price tag on this policy.

I can respect the hypothesis that PPACA may actually be bad for employers, but there are a number of key factors that are left out of this study (or at least the summary results), as well as some false suppositions, that don’t bolster its case.

  1. Penalties - The summary outlines the possible employer penalties well. It does not, however, outline the factors that may have an impact on an employer’s decision to not offer coverage. First, the penalty of $3,000 for an employee receiving a subsidy may seem like a lot, but with average cost of coverage for a family of four running $11,000-$15,000 per year in premiums alone, Many companies may actually save money by not offering “basic” (60% or more) coverage for these employees. If an employer simply opts out, the penalty is $2,000, excluding to first 30 employees. Translated, if your company has 75 employees and you choose not to offer coverage, your employees will cost you $90,000, or $1,200 per employee. Again, you may not be paying zero dollars for not covering your employees, but you’re still saving a substantial amount based on what you would pay to cover them. Add to that consideration that, if you’re a company that would consider dropping coverage because of its impact on your low-income workforce, most of those employees would qualify for coverage subsidies, if not outright free coverage (the controversial “Medicaid mandate”) under PPACA. Therefore, you may be able to save money while your employees get coverage cheaper than they would before, and you’re still helping to subsidize it through the penalties. (I’ve yet to hear of a company over 500 that’s not politically motivated like Papa John’s that has seriously considered not offering benefits because of PPACA. On the contrary, several polls by private companies indicate that large companies think that offering good benefits packages are even more important than before PPACA because of the competitive advantage a robust benefits package may give them.) In fairness, there is a grey area in there for employers between 51-499 where it may actually be a burden on their budgets to offer insurance and a competitive disadvantage not to offer it. That is probably the primary area for the “one-half of one percent” impact on unemployment that may occur because of PPACA (although the footnote leads to a document that doesn’t seem to exist, so I’m not sure). Which leads to…
  2. PPACA was driven by market factors, not ideology. It’s all fine and good to say that PPACA will burden companies to the point that wages will stagnate… except that wages have been stagnant for nearly three decades already — roughly the same amount of time that health costs, and health insurance premiums in particular, have increased, on average, at double the rate of inflation. PPACA, while not perfect by a longshot, became an issue because healthcare has become a drag on the economy, not because some people wanted to advance a socialist agenda (this is where that pesky fact that the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea comes into play). It may actually increase costs in the short run, but the ultimate goal is to curb cost increases, not necessarily to reverse them.
  3. While “defined contribution” has emerged as an alternative to public exchanges, the characterization that “defined contribution” is portable (i.e. my employer gives me money to pay for benefits, I use it for that purpose, and then I can take my benefits with me to another job) is not one that I’ve heard being mentioned with any health insurance carrier or company, and I would think that this kind of portability would be fought by any company. Why would I give my employer $5,000 to spend on benefits if I knew they could just quit and take that money with them to another job?

PPACA is far from perfect and it’s really tough to tell what will happen. I don’t envy anyone on either side trying to predict the outcome. But let’s at least try to predict without preconceptions in either direction, whether you feel that health coverage is an inalienable right or that the true inalienable right to is be able to run your business without government interference.

I can think of something else that starts with F, Elmo.

I can think of something else that starts with F, Elmo.

Nov 8
clambistro:

I interviewed William H. Macy about life n stuff!
The What I Know About Women/Men  column is a little odd in that there’s no editorialising or prose; it’s a straight “oral history” type interview. But of course the key is being able to converse at such a level that you end up getting the goods! This was my first crack at What I Know…, and “Bill” was ace. Here it is: 
* * * 
William H. Macy Actor, married, 62
Neither my dad nor my mother were religious, but my grandmother was extremely religious; there was a lot of pressure on my dad, and on me as a kid, when my grandmother was alive. So I was confirmed, and went to Sunday school, all of that stuff.
I was raised Lutheran. The guy teaching Sunday school, who was a certified idiot, drew a circle on the board and said, “This is the earth.” Then he drew another circle, and said, “This is purgatory.” “And this is heaven.” And he walked away and I said, “What’s on the other side?” And he said, “God.” And I said, “No, beyond that.” And he said, “God.” And I said, “Is there nothing beyond God? Is there space?” – and he threw me out of class. And I went home and my father said, “Did you sass the Sunday school teacher?” I said, “I didn’t, I didn’t!” And he said, “Tell me exactly what happened.” So I told my dad the story and he looked at me for a while and said, “You don’t have to ever go back there again.”
I think I was closer to my dad than my mother. My dad was about the most moral guy I’ve ever met, and if there was another one, it might be my grandfather; he was a Quaker, an absolutely straight-up-and-down guy. And he was kind.
My dad was the most honest guy I’ve ever known, and really moral, but he had been pressured by my grandmother to become a minister – and indeed, he went to Princeton [Theological Seminary] for two years, but finally couldn’t do it.
This is something I discovered early on: if you love the way your parents raised you, then don’t do anything – everything will be fine. But if you don’t like the way your parents raised you, you’d better make a plan. Because the second you have a child, you open your mouth – and your mother speaks out of your mouth! It’s her voice, her tone – it’s the exact words she used. And you shut your mouth, and you have horror, because you’ve been possessed. She’s in there; every time you open your mouth, she talks.
My wife [actress Felicity Huffman] is a great mom, and not naturally. She learnt it, and she really schooled herself on raising children, and educated herself. And I, by extension, got some of that.
We’re talking about writing a children’s film. Our household is, to a large extent, “You know what would make a good movie?” We do that a lot. And now my daughters [Sofia, 12, and Georgia, 10] do it, too: “What if …”
It’s fine with me if they want to get into acting or writing; I’ll do everything I can to help them. I’ve got no problem with nepotism. I don’t understand actors who say, “I would never let my child do it.” I mean, it’s been great! I love my life! And I can help them; I can make sure they get seen, and if they’ve got any talent for it, it’s a good way to make a living. I sure like doing TV; maybe I’ll have had my fill in eight years, but I really like it. I really like to act, and I get to act almost every day. Best people in my business – I mean, they may be full of shit, but they’re never boring.
I’m the luckiest palooka, because I married really well. We’re lucky. We grew up in the theatre together, and we love acting, and we actually talk about it a lot – it’s dinner-table talk. We help each other, and we’re gloriously uncompetitive. I wouldn’t recommend everyone try this, but it’s really good for us.
We talk about religion a lot as a family – we’ve been to Protestant and Catholic churches, we’ve been to synagogue. My wife prays, and believes in God, and is rather spiritual. She talks to the girls; I talk to them, too. We just tell them what we think – that it’s important everybody be free to think what they want, that we don’t all have to agree.
I sometimes marvel that guys don’t work just a little bit harder. Women are so easily manipulated! They like shiny things – all you gotta do is pull out the chair, call them “ma’am”. I mean, just do these little tiny things and you can lead them anywhere you want. I don’t know why more men don’t know that. That’s it: stand up when she comes to the table – you’re golden, you are golden.

clambistro:

I interviewed William H. Macy about life n stuff!

The What I Know About Women/Men  column is a little odd in that there’s no editorialising or prose; it’s a straight “oral history” type interview. But of course the key is being able to converse at such a level that you end up getting the goods! This was my first crack at What I Know…, and “Bill” was ace. Here it is: 

* * * 

William H. Macy 
Actor, married, 62

Neither my dad nor my mother were religious, but my grandmother was extremely religious; there was a lot of pressure on my dad, and on me as a kid, when my grandmother was alive. So I was confirmed, and went to Sunday school, all of that stuff.

I was raised Lutheran. The guy teaching Sunday school, who was a certified idiot, drew a circle on the board and said, “This is the earth.” Then he drew another circle, and said, “This is purgatory.” “And this is heaven.” And he walked away and I said, “What’s on the other side?” And he said, “God.” And I said, “No, beyond that.” And he said, “God.” And I said, “Is there nothing beyond God? Is there space?” – and he threw me out of class. And I went home and my father said, “Did you sass the Sunday school teacher?” I said, “I didn’t, I didn’t!” And he said, “Tell me exactly what happened.” So I told my dad the story and he looked at me for a while and said, “You don’t have to ever go back there again.”

I think I was closer to my dad than my mother. My dad was about the most moral guy I’ve ever met, and if there was another one, it might be my grandfather; he was a Quaker, an absolutely straight-up-and-down guy. And he was kind.

My dad was the most honest guy I’ve ever known, and really moral, but he had been pressured by my grandmother to become a minister – and indeed, he went to Princeton [Theological Seminary] for two years, but finally couldn’t do it.

This is something I discovered early on: if you love the way your parents raised you, then don’t do anything – everything will be fine. But if you don’t like the way your parents raised you, you’d better make a plan. Because the second you have a child, you open your mouth – and your mother speaks out of your mouth! It’s her voice, her tone – it’s the exact words she used. And you shut your mouth, and you have horror, because you’ve been possessed. She’s in there; every time you open your mouth, she talks.

My wife [actress Felicity Huffman] is a great mom, and not naturally. She learnt it, and she really schooled herself on raising children, and educated herself. And I, by extension, got some of that.

We’re talking about writing a children’s film. Our household is, to a large extent, “You know what would make a good movie?” We do that a lot. And now my daughters [Sofia, 12, and Georgia, 10] do it, too: “What if …”

It’s fine with me if they want to get into acting or writing; I’ll do everything I can to help them. I’ve got no problem with nepotism. I don’t understand actors who say, “I would never let my child do it.” I mean, it’s been great! I love my life! And I can help them; I can make sure they get seen, and if they’ve got any talent for it, it’s a good way to make a living. I sure like doing TV; maybe I’ll have had my fill in eight years, but I really like it. I really like to act, and I get to act almost every day. Best people in my business – I mean, they may be full of shit, but they’re never boring.

I’m the luckiest palooka, because I married really well. We’re lucky. We grew up in the theatre together, and we love acting, and we actually talk about it a lot – it’s dinner-table talk. We help each other, and we’re gloriously uncompetitive. I wouldn’t recommend everyone try this, but it’s really good for us.

We talk about religion a lot as a family – we’ve been to Protestant and Catholic churches, we’ve been to synagogue. My wife prays, and believes in God, and is rather spiritual. She talks to the girls; I talk to them, too. We just tell them what we think – that it’s important everybody be free to think what they want, that we don’t all have to agree.

I sometimes marvel that guys don’t work just a little bit harder. Women are so easily manipulated! They like shiny things – all you gotta do is pull out the chair, call them “ma’am”. I mean, just do these little tiny things and you can lead them anywhere you want. I don’t know why more men don’t know that. That’s it: stand up when she comes to the table – you’re golden, you are golden.

The L is for “Ladies?”

The L is for “Ladies?”

It got a little ugly.

It got a little ugly.

Dribbling off into the HDR sunset. (at Saint Helena Island)

Dribbling off into the HDR sunset. (at Saint Helena Island)

Sandy’s tail. (at Arthur J. Ravenel Jr. Bridge)

Sandy’s tail. (at Arthur J. Ravenel Jr. Bridge)

Islands in the stream.

Islands in the stream.

Earlier this week, The Daily Show did a piece on black Mormons in Utah. It’s hilarious. Watch it.

If you’re not from Utah and/or not Mormon, you may have missed one very subtle nuance: When Jessica Williams first sits down, she says “Oh my God…” but the second time around she says “Oh my gosh…” I guarantee you she was admonished to do so by her interviewees.

Oct 3
Sometimes the Internet teaches you too much, and yet too little. Sometimes the Internet introduces you to worlds you never knew existed, only to make you wish they didn’t. Sometimes the Internet makes you laugh, and sometimes it just ruins your appetite. Sometimes you say “Screw you Internet, no pun intended,” and you eat it anyway and it’s delicious.

Sometimes the Internet teaches you too much, and yet too little. Sometimes the Internet introduces you to worlds you never knew existed, only to make you wish they didn’t. Sometimes the Internet makes you laugh, and sometimes it just ruins your appetite. Sometimes you say “Screw you Internet, no pun intended,” and you eat it anyway and it’s delicious.

Team Justine.

(Source: thistumblerhasane)

Nobody’d be out on the frozen lake, I’d suspected, and there wasn’t a soul. Superman 2 was on TV. I’d seen it at Malvern cinema about three years ago on Neal Brose’s birthday. It wasn’t bad but not worth sacrificing my own private lake for. Clark Kent gives up his powers just to have sexual intercourse with Lois Lane in a glittery bed. Who’d make such a stupid swap? If you could fly? Deflect nuclear missiles into space? Turn back time by spinning the planet in reverse? Sexual intercourse can’t be that good.

-

Jason Taylor in Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell

The whole book’s full of this goodness.