Monday Works Roundup, 6/26/17

Jun. 26th, 2017 02:44 pm
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Posted by Erin Ptah

But I’m A Cat Person
Be Indivisible, Caring, and Proud (art | Timothy, Emma, Sparrow, Bianca, Cohen, Bennett, Jany, Henriette | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Leif and Thorn sketchpile 2017 (sketches | ensemble | worksafe)
Bloodshot Iolite (comic | gem!Thorn, Delphinium, WiB | G)
Pantheon of the North (art | Drengr/Agæti, Veiðimaðr, Gørsimi, Dómari | worksafe)
Leif!!! on Ice (art | Leif, Thorn | worksafe)

Doctor Who/Muppets
Muppet Doctors – Twelve (art | Uncle Deadly as Capaldi | worksafe)
Muppet Masters – Delgado (art | Master!Marvin Suggs | worksafe)
Muppet Masters – Crispy (art | Master!Marjory | worksafe)

Rick and Morty
Needs Moar Mortys (sketch | Morty/Morty | worksafe)

Paint Clouds (multicolor textures for sale, worksafe)
Peaks Frame (art nouveau frame, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Last of the sketch revisions. Cover for a brand-new chapter.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Our heroes chat about their backgrounds while listening to karaoke, and Leif stresses over his song choice.

Filed under: But I'm A Cat Person, Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup Tagged: Doctor Who, graphics, Muppets, Rick and Morty, textures

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:25 am
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[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[personal profile] dreamwaffles linked to a fundraiser for Kaye, who has been researching Rat Lungworm, a disease that almost killed her son Graham, who is now disabled and uses a service dog for everyday life. Kaye was a crucial part of the University of Hawai'i's RLWD research team and also the team trying to get legislative support and grant funding, but she's fighting medical debt for Graham's treatment and ongoing needs. You can read more and help out here.

[ profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and is now dealing with an eye infection they need to get treatment for before their roommate and her toddler come back from vacation, so they don't infect the baby. They're raising $50-$60 in the short term for medical treatment; they also have a long-term fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

[ profile] anna-guth is a student from Germany who was recently accepted to Redroofs School for the Performing Arts in England, but her parents can't afford the full GBP24K tuition. She is raising E6.5K for tuition and school fees; you can read more and reblog here, or give directly to the fundraiser here.

[ profile] echosiriusrumme is a student trying to buy her own clarinet; at present she doesn't have her own instrument to practice with but has a pressing need to practice before auditions and recitals for a Performance track next fall at her university. She has a few options lined up for between $800 and $1.3K, but needs to raise the funds to cover the cost; she is offering to repay over time any funds contributed to the purchase. You can read more and reblog here (plus find a ko-fi link) or give to her paypal here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
wneleh: by Mirnell (Default)
[personal profile] wneleh posting in [community profile] as_others_see_us
The New York Times published Amanda Hess’s 'When Fan Fiction and Reality Collide,' about “FANtasies,” a new anthology web series where fan fiction about internet stars is “brought to life.” As someone who writes YouTuber rpf/rps, I am… really uneasy about this.

For Comicsverse, Colleen Etman compiled A History of Slashfiction.

From Ed Mazza in Huffington Post: Creationist Fan Fiction Features Noah Fighting Giants And Dinosaurs.

Supernatural, One Direction, lots of Harry Potter, Phil Collins, JRRT )

For USA Today, Christian Schneider wrote It's not as if gerrymandering is a new practice; according to some accounts, it predated even the American Revolution. Partisan apportionment was known to the nation's founding fathers — it is rumored that Patrick Henry actually attempted, unsuccessfully, to gerrymander James Madison out of the First Congress. (Which, in my fan fiction describing the event, ended with an old-style caning to settle the dispute.)

Los Angeles Times’s Yvonne Villarreal wrote In our own [This Is Us] fan fiction, we imagine [Ron] Howard enlisting Kevin as a last-minute addition to the Han Solo production. Hartley, though, is just crossing his fingers that more Howard cameos are in his future.

From Nuria Perea on BuzzFeed News: How Indie Movies And Fanfic Helped Me Learn How To Be A Lesbian.

Finally, in a review of an art exhibition, The Boston Globe’s Cate McQuaid wrote Yuan Runhe’s wily painted fan, “A Surface of Obtained Flaws,” depicts an envelope and a thank-you note, which says that, in gratitude, the writer is sending a painting of a fan. Is it the object itself? Perhaps, but Yuan also paints a piece of a painting of a fan. Call it fan fiction.

(no subject)

Jun. 25th, 2017 11:12 pm
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [community profile] efw
Obscene pun. Posted to all-ages craft community.
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Posted by Erin Ptah

Our story so far:

PEOTUS was shot and assassinated on election night. Olivia Pope is on the case! So far she has accused three (3) people of ordering the killing, and been explicitly proved wrong about two (2). Meanwhile, the Electoral College is left to decide between the horrible, self-serving, politically-soulless VPEOTUS or the horrible, self-serving, politically-soulless runner-up ticket.


Episode 6 gives us campaign-era flashbacks of Olivia’s dad reconnecting with an old girlfriend, who turns out to be a lure under the control of…someone.

Different flashback: Olivia asking her dad for advice on how to handle Mellie. Hey, remember when Olivia’s dad orchestrated the murder of Mellie’s son? (The grief put her for months into a near-suicidal depression.) I’m sure his advice will be great.

Olivia: “She’s from California. Why don’t they like her?” Dad: “I can’t answer that.” Ooh, ooh, pick me! Because Californians hate Republican policies, and she’s a Republican!

They keep talking about “calling San Benito County” as if the voting within states is calculated the same as national voting, as if you’re guaranteed a certain number of points (and no more) once you win a county. Even if Mellie got every vote in San Benito (pop. 58,000), that doesn’t mean she couldn’t fall behind once all the ballots are counted in San Mateo (765,000), or Contra Costa (11.13 million), or, I don’t know, Los Angeles (10.2 million).

Dad Pope was behind the Vargas shooting! Although not on his own initiative, it was pushed by the Someones, who had the girlfriend hostage. And then they went to far in taunting Dad Pope about his compromising attachment to her, so he shot her in front of them. Good grief.

Episode 7 finds Olivia telling Huck to kill her father. For the second time. He helpfully reminds her that the first time didn’t end well.

Huck confronts Dad on a subway platform, openly aiming a gun at him, and there’s a lot of yelling, which echoes beautifully. For some reason there are zero other people on the platform, and nobody is concerned about metro security cameras capturing this shouted confession of killing Vargas.

Accusations of a mole in Olivia’s company lead to Huck and Quinn aiming guns at each other’s faces. What a team.

Investigation by Huck leads to him threatening his current girlfriend with a syringe of something nasty, all while going “this is hard for me, but you’re making me do this!” Just in case you were starting to feel sympathetic toward him.

Olivia is back for the third time to accusing her dad of Vargas’ murder, but she’s passionately insisting that it was all his idea, based on the admittedly reasonable evidence that he murdered the girlfriend who was being used to manipulate him. Huck counters by passionately insisting that Dad Pope has changed because he was in love and now he’s in pain and…listen, buddy, both him and you are still 100% willing to be violent-to-murderous the minute you feel threatened. You haven’t changed, and people, especially women, should stay away from you.

(I would say “random civilian women,” but this girlfriend turns out to have been planted to shoot a witness, which she gets away with because none of these geniuses thought to frisk her, and, wow, we are never going to get any case-of-the-week episodes this season, are we.)

The Someones got to Abby. That explains why she was pushing for Cyrus to get the death penalty ASAP, huh.

In flashback she asks Cyrus “how did you know Frankie was the one, how did you know he could go all the way?” We’ve seen this in The West Wing — Josh asking Leo how he knew Bartlett was his guy, because Josh had found Santos and was starting to think Santos could be his guy. But Abby isn’t thinking she’s found a candidate — she’s thinking she could be the candidate.

Anyway, the Someones offered her $3 million with no paper trail and no explanation beyond “we like you and want to support your eventual candidacy.” And she took it! What’s next, Abby, sending the money to a the next Nigerian prince in your email?

So Huck’s evil girlfriend shot the witness, and then shot him, but in a weird way that seemed designed to miss all vital organs. I figured she was deliberately not-killing him for some reason. (He was flat on the floor, she had lots of spare bullets, it’s not like she could miss the heart and lungs.)

Then she sticks him in the trunk of a car and pushes it into a lake. Apparently she’s just incompetent.

We get a nice hallucination-sequence where Huck is back in Pope HQ, with the mental images of his team members talking him through how to escape. And he does it! Not only did she not kill him, she didn’t even shoot him hard enough for the blood loss to slow him down!

…setting aside that part of my disbelief, I do actually like the bit.

Hey, was anyone worried that there hadn’t been enough graphic on-screen torture this season? Well, don’t sweat it. Quinn’s got you covered.

Olivia gets a pep-up talk about how she’s a “miracle worker,” from another of these people who hasn’t seen the show. And sure enough, they find Huck — by tracking the phone of the dead witness, which murder-girlfriend wasn’t smart enough to chuck in a dumpster on her way to the body disposal! That’s not you working a miracle, that’s your opponent being a complete moron.

Gonna wrap up this post here, purely because my head hurts from hitting this desk so hard.

Filed under: Erin Watches Tagged: Scandal


Jun. 25th, 2017 03:03 pm
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Posted by russell

by russell

this is by way of a non-political post.  consider it an open thread, chime in with whatever.

it's actually a really nice day today, here in chilly old new england.  probably 80F, nice and dry.  sun is mostly out, with an occasional cloud to break up the monotony and provide a moment of shade.  

my wife and i spent the day doing yard chores.  my wife is an avid gardener, and before we bought our place she didn't have a garden for almost 15 years.  so, when we moved in, she dug in with both hands and both feet.  literally.  our family joke is that we live in the most intensively cultivated 1/8 acre on the planet.

she does most of the yard stuff.  i hire a kid to mow, i edge the beds now and then, and dig holes when we put new stuff in.  the one thing i do for her every year is dead-head the lilacs.  they're pretty tall, and she is not comfortable on ladders, so i take that on.  

i really like doing it, it's a nice excuse to be outside for a couple of hours on a nice day.  it requires just enough attention to keep from being utterly boring, but not so much that you can't sort of space out and let your mind wander around.  i also like doing it because my wife really loves lilacs, and dead-heading them means lots and lots of blossoms next year.  and, i also like doing it because it makes the lilacs look not so shaggy and disheveled.  it's kind of like giving them a nice haircut - i'm snipping out those unsightly tangles and split ends, and giving our lilac girls a fresh new look!  

plus, it lets them not spend all of their resources making seeds.  instead, they can focus on building themselves up, and putting out some new growth.  it's kind of a rejuvenating thing for them, i imagine.

i sometimes chat with the lilacs while i'm doing this.  we have a miss kim in the back, due to (i assume) our cool and rainy spring, she put out an astounding number of blooms this year.  so, as i dead-head her, i compliment her on what a show she put on.  good job, miss kim!!  i have no idea how or if this is received by the lilac.  whatever tree consciousness consists of, i suspect it is much too slow to follow human speech.  tree thoughts are probably more about air, and light, and heat, and water.  strategic thinking, maybe, to respond to stresses and damage.  defensive thoughts to ward off pests.  in any case, i send the lilacs my best intentions, and whatever gets through gets through.  maybe there is some overlap of mind there, somewhere.

there are a ton of birds in attendance while i groom the lilacs. they mostly seem agitated, rather than calm.  most of the time, when i'm in the yard, it's to fill the feeders and bird bath.  so, i sort of assume that they're annoyed, because there i am, but the feeders are still empty.  WTF, human!!  get on the job!!  i talk to them a bit, too, to let them know i'll fill the feeders when i'm done dead-heading.  like with the lilacs,i have no idea how this is received.  bird thoughts, unlike tree thoughts, are probably really fast - me talking probably sounds like weird whale songs to them.  birds seem to focus on sight, and short, sharp sounds.  they notice sudden motions, so when i'm out there i try to move calmly so i don't freak them out.  except the chickadees, who are amazingly unafraid of anything, they just want me to go away so they can eat.  like with the lilacs, i send them my best intentions, in case there is some area of mind overlap available.

i won't even get into the bugs.  bug world seems to be all about chemicals and energy waves.  plus, my intentions toward them are not always so positive, so i figure it's mostly best just to say nothing.  except for the bees, of whom we have a few kinds.  bumble bees, who must be the chillest creatures in the world, and honeybees, who are just too busy to care what i'm doing, and carpenter bees, who mostly don't care unless YOU ARE TOO CLOSE TO THEIR NEST YOU ARE TOO CLOSE TO THEIR NEST YOU ARE TOO CLOSE TO THEIR NEST, in which case they will be right in your face.  and the really tiny bees that come in various shapes and colors.  some of those guys are kind of pissy, it's good to give them a wider berth.

that, plus splitting a nice italian sub with my wife for lunch, was my day.  hope yours was as much fun as mine!

Sunday favorites

Jun. 25th, 2017 01:35 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

You have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

Trite subject line

Jun. 25th, 2017 04:39 am
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [community profile] efw
Innocent-sounding question. No context.
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Posted by Erin Ptah

Just gonna jump right into the liveblogging on this one.

Season 2 episode 2 starts with a flashback to when Mellie accepted the Republican nomination, making it even harder to ignore how unrealistic it is that the Republican party would vote for a woman to get their nomination.

Olivia yells at Fitz for sending “scrubs” to investigate a crime scene. The actual FBI Director steps out and informs her that, no, he sent her to investigate the crime scene. (This director is a black woman with giant hair. I want to like her.)

Cyrus invites Mellie to join him as VP-elect. This is all so terribly incestuous. There’s no discussion of what policy would be, because of course there isn’t — I’m not sure if Scandal buys into the fallacy that the two parties are Basically The Same, or if this is just a symptom of it not caring about government except as a dramatic backdrop for sexy power struggles.

Olivia has dinner with the FBI director with the hair. It starts as piercing commentary on the way they get treated, as competent black women in positions of power…and turns into Olivia asking if the director has a thing with Fitz. Turns out no, but not because it’s a terrible idea for the head of the FBI to bang the President, it’s just because she was worried about disrespecting Olivia.

At the same time as this is happening, Olivia’s people are stealing evidence from the FBI, and the White House is having a “confession” tortured out of a suspect who’s supposed to be under the FBI’s purview.

(The evidence is a hard drive, which, when recovered, has “over 5,000 hours” on it. By my back-of-the-napkin calculations, that would fill 17.6 terabytes. On a laptop drive. As of 2017, if you’re willing to shell out several thousand dollars, the most Amazon can get you is 4.)

…I got real worried because Olivia’s next thing is to snap at the WH that forced confessions are worthless as intelligence. Which is absolutely true — but the show has never seemed to realize that before, and also, it’s 23 minutes into the episode. (Thankfully, the next one seems to be backing her up.)

Flashback to Mellie’s romance with a campaign staffer, and, oh hey, it turns out Abby knows Olivia broke up her and David! (I don’t remember if we knew this already, or if this is the dramatic reveal.) Flash-forward to Mellie confronting Olivia over orchestrating her breakup with the staffer. “Why are you doing this? What is wrong with you?!” Good question!

Episode 3 retcons the video data to “300 hours of [tip-giving videographer]’s footage, 2200 hours of the security feed.” That would need less than 2 TB on the hard drive, which is more believable.

Portia di Rossi’s character is back! And she’s amazing. Partly because I can’t help seeing her as Veronica, all charmingly ridiculous, meant to be judged by comedy standards rather than real-world ones.

This episode uses flashbacks to unveil that, yep, Cyrus isn’t the murderer. I was definitely expecting that to be dragged out for longer. (There’s a secret video of Frankie yelling at him for being a terrible person who should be in jail, and, look, he’s not wrong, but for other reasons.)

Most obvious suspect is the hitman Cyrus was secretly having an affair with, because that’s the kind of show this is. Flash-forward to the present, Cyrus secretly meets with the (armed!) ex-boyfriend at night in a park, because that’s totally the kind of thing PEOTUS can do. Secret Service, what Secret Service?

Vengeful hitman ex throws a wrench in the works by “admitting” to killing Frankie on Cyrus’s orders. This’ll be fun.

Olivia: “With Cyrus in jail, the Electoral College will have no choice but to vote for you.” Orrr they could vote for the runner-up in the Democratic primary. Without knowing anything specific about these people’s policies, that seems like the most moral and honest choice re: the will of the voters.

Wow, almost nothing to say about episode 4. It’s all Cyrus’s Adventures in Jail. The narrative woobifies him hard, to the point where in spite of everything I actually feel bad for him by the third act. (Fourth act, he gets a guard murdered. So much for that.)

And episode 5 focuses on the drama around Jake Ballard — Olivia’s ex, former agent of Olivia’s dad, now Mellie’s VP candidate, in a politically-orchestrated marriage with a not!Kennedy who’s now going into an alcohol-fueled emotional tailspin as she slowly realizes (a) Jake doesn’t like her very much and (b) he’s a terrible person.

(To illustrate: he seriously considers strangling her in order to keep the angsty tailspin from damaging his career.)

Newly revealed in flashback: Jake blew up the cabin that held the laptop that held the video that came from the photographer that called in the tip that swallowed the spider to catch the fly. Don’t ask me why.

Olivia wrangles Mellie to have a heart-to-heart with the not!Kennedy wife, as part of the Women Whose Husbands Like Olivia Pope Better Club. This wrangles the wife back into urging Democrats to fall in line behind Jake’s ticket, based on him being a Good and Honorable Person who married someone from Massachusetts. What policies does he support that they should appreciate? Ha. Aha. Ahaha.

Then she spends the rest of the episode trying to get proof that Jake did the murdering, which of course means he didn’t do that, although she lets him drive her alone without her phone to an isolated location before she figures it out.

And, whoof, that’s about all the Olivia Pope always-rightness I can take in one sitting. (Still working on commissions, but I’ll have to switch to some other background TV for the rest.)

Filed under: Erin Watches Tagged: Scandal
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Posted by Fred Clark

Those of us who have served time in conservative Christian youth groups recognize this theme from the many, many Why Wait lectures we heard. Your purity and innocence, the lecture always said, are the Greatest Gift that you can offer to your spouse on your wedding day. Setting aside the merits of this particular pitch for chastity, the strange thing here is finding that the inner monologue of jet-setting, secular, un-saved Buck Williams sounds like a True Love Waits seminar.
[syndicated profile] erinptah_feed

Posted by Erin Ptah

The latest season is on Netflix now, so it’s time for me to work through more of this incredibly watchable show about terrible people.

For those who need a brief refresher:

Do you like The West Wing? Do you like Leverage? Would you like a series that’s cross between those two shows? How about a series that thinks it’s a cross between those two shows, but missed the memo that a big part of the appeal was the main characters being likeable, competent, and out to do good things? Well, Scandal is that last one.

Our heroine is Olivia Pope, a freelance fixer of political problems with a reputation for being supercompetent, brilliant, and heroic. Before canon started, she had already helped rig the US Presidential election to put her (Republican) (also married) boyfriend into office. The first few episodes follow a mini-arc where she is asked to defend the reputation of a woman who also had an affair with said President. Olivia yells at this woman for being a lying liar. Olivia is proved wrong.

This sets the stage for a pattern where, halfway through any given case-of-the-week, whoever Olivia is defending will turn out to be evil, and whoever she just shot down will be revealed as the true victim. She is aided by a motley crew of employees and allies, some of whom are already terrible people when the show starts, others of whom compromise their morals over the course of the series. They’ve covered everything from war crimes to murder to perjury to torture.

An illuminating example: One of the employees (Abby) idolizes Olivia for rescuing her from an abusive husband — now if only it stopped there. Later, Abby and a much-nicer love interest (David, also a legal ally of Olivia’s) come perilously close to uncovering Olivia’s Presidential-election-rigging. To get them off the trail…Olivia plants information that triggers Abby’s abuse-trauma, manipulating her into a panicky and tearful breakup. Neither Abby nor David finds out Olivia orchestrated this! Both of them continue to idolize and adore her! The writers still seem to think we should too!

At the end of season 5, there were maybe 2 characters that were likeable human beings. Senator-turned-VP Susan Ross, who pleasantly surprised me by flat-out quitting her job rather than sell her soul, and governor-turned-Dem-candidate Francisco Vargas, whose soul is still up for grabs.

Liveblogged the first episode. Might end up doing the same for the whole season, depending on how commentable it is.




Season 6 opens on the night of a presidential election, and it all comes down to…California. That’s right, folks, in the Scandal universe, California is a swing state.

Also, Olivia is chastising her staff to vote if they haven’t already. I mean, hey, just because they’re reporting totals on the west coast, that doesn’t mean the polls can’t still be open! Our competent political-genius heroine in action, folks.

Frankie won. So now Olivia is berating her candidate (Mellie, also her boyfriend’s ex) to call and concede, which seems like the smart and reasonable move. Knowing this show, that means we will eventually learn it totally the wrong move.

(I like Mellie and Olivia being friends. For all that they’re awful, their fighting with each other was pretty evenly matched — not one abusing the other, they both gave as good as they got. And it all stemmed from their rivalry over Fitz, who is painfully not worth it.)

Dammit, they shot Frankie. He might escape becoming awful by dying.

Obnoxious agent: “Ma’am, I’m sure you have some security clearance…” Abby: “No. I don’t have some security clearance. I have all of it.”

Hits all the beats and all the right emotions of a badass smackdown scene. Logically, undercut by the fact that Abby didn’t show any security clearance. If you’re going to waltz into a hyper-secure operation (the hospital) and start barking orders, have your badge in hand! (Also, her entire order was literally “don’t let anyone in here,” which I’m pretty sure they were already doing.)

…yep, they killed Frankie.

Olivia yells at her father (ex-leader of the government’s Evil Secret Black Ops Division): was he behind the killing? Well, we’re 22 minutes in and she’s yelling at him, so I bet not.

Mellie just wants to go on vacation and leave this all behind. Now that would be the smart and reasonable move. (She never really wanted the job in the first place. She wants power in the abstract, but has no interest in doing anything in particular with it. Five minutes later she’ll forget all her reasonable plans and decide she wants it again.)

Now Olivia’s convinced it was Cyrus (part of the Fitz conspiracy, now VP candidate for Vargas) who had the candidate murdered so he’d be promoted to the top of the winning ticket. But we’re only 27 minutes in, so she’s probably wrong. After all, the Electoral College hasn’t voted yet, so Cyrus would be taking a pretty steep gamble on them not abandoning the Vargas-Cyrus ticket even with half of it gone.

Olivia storms into the hospital. The same hyper-secure hospital that nobody was supposed to be let in. And finds Cyrus in mute, trembling shock. Who could’ve seen that coming?

Fitz: “I wanted you to be right. You’re always right.” Dude…have you never seen this show?

He ultimately supports the EC supporting Cyrus, which is the right choice as far as the will of the people is concerned, although both he and Mellie are impressively awful choices who should not be trusted with this country.

Vargas’ widow is still in the hospital after a sleepless night, still covered in blood from standing next to the shooting, but for some reason her hair and makeup is still flawless. D- for realism, makeup department.

…So the last five minutes unveil a tip from a mystery person that it was Cyrus (no details on how the tipper came to this conclusion). Well, now that this twist has been un-twisted and re-twisted again, I’m sure the issue is settled, and will be quite shocked if the rest of the season isn’t completely straightforward.

Filed under: Erin Watches Tagged: Scandal

If we confess our sins

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:47 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

At this point in the sermon, pastors often balk and attempt to do the impossible -- to provide an example of their personal "sin" that is not actually shameful or hurtful or distasteful. They'll bring up some minor matter of akrasia, some petty foible or embarrassment. They'll confess to once saying a dirty word when they accidentally hit their thumb with a hammer, or to being impatient in traffic. Their personal illustration, being something trivial, trivializes the entire sermon.
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Posted by Anna Maria Barry-Jester

Senate Republicans released the text of their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act today, and like the House bill before it, the measure would give big tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and roll back Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. It also would get rid of the unpopular mandate that most people have insurance or pay a fine.

The draft bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would repeal most taxes in the Affordable Care Act, including two on the wealthiest individuals, a medical device tax, a tax on tanning salons and a tax on the insurance industry. It would also restrict Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood clinics for a year.

The measure also includes a host of details that would affect how millions of Americans get their health insurance, how much they pay for it and what it covers. The measure would cut back subsidies that help defray the cost of insurance for people who don’t get it from their employer or a public program. And it would loosen regulations on the insurance markets, likely meaning lower premiums but for more limited health insurance coverage.

But how much this bill would affect a person largely depends on how she gets her insurance. The 142-page bill is complex, and it will take some time to fully understand what it would mean for the health care landscape. Still, there are some clear initial takeaways for different groups:

The 20 percent of the population with Medicaid:

Much like the House bill, the Senate bill would make dramatic cuts to the health insurance program for people with low incomes. The ACA expanded Medicaid to cover everyone earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line, but the Supreme Court ruled that states could choose whether to participate in that expansion. The new measure would reduce how much the federal government pays for the program starting in 2021. For at least eight states, that means the expansion would end altogether — these states expanded Medicaid with the caveat that the expansion would end if its federal funding decreased, which would occur under the Senate bill. But the bill would go beyond just phasing out expansion, additionally enacting deep financial cuts to the part of Medicaid that covers children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and older people in nursing homes. That part of the program would be put on a strict budget, with limits to how much the federal government would contribute for care.

That’s very different from how the program works now. The federal government generally reimburses states for a percentage of whatever they spend on program enrollees. Medicaid expenses fluctuate broadly from year to year within states. Sometimes that’s related to outbreaks or the availability of a new, expensive drug, as was the case with costly pharmaceuticals used to treat Hepatitis C.

The cuts, which are even steeper than those in the bill that passed the House in May, essentially shift more of the cost of Medicaid back to states. States, in turn, are likely to react in a variety of ways. Some could look for the money to pay for enrollees, but the expense would be substantial. Others will likely limit eligibility or the care that is covered. Some could eliminate the expansion program altogether.

The bill does fix one problem with the ACA that arose after the Supreme Court ruling on Medicaid expansion. About 2.6 million people in 19 states that didn’t expand Medicaid landed in a health insurance gap: They earned too little to be eligible for subsidies (the ACA assumed everyone with incomes below the federal poverty line would be on Medicaid, so they weren’t eligible for subsidies), but they earned too much to qualify for Medicaid. These people would be eligible for subsidies under the Senate bill. They would have to spend about 2 percent of their already small incomes on premiums, however.

The 7 percent who buy private insurance:

Even though the Medicaid expansion affected more people, this is the group that has been at the center of much of the Obamacare discussion and criticism: It includes the people buying insurance on the marketplaces created by the ACA. The Senate bill would change how subsidies are provided to help some in this group buy insurance, and it would change what kind of coverage insurance companies have to offer.

For starters, insurance companies would have to pay a smaller portion of an enrollee’s costs each year than they currently do. That probably means that the insurance plans eligible for subsidies would have higher co-pays and higher deductibles.

But the bill also would change how the subsidies are calculated. Under the Senate plan, subsidies are tied to income and cost (if you make less and live in a place with expensive coverage, you get a larger subsidy), as is the case with the ACA. But they would apply only to people making up to 350 percent of the federal poverty line, about $42,000 this year; the cutoff under the ACA is 400 percent. And the bill would raise the amount that some people are expected to contribute to their insurance. A 60-year-old earning about $24,120 a year (about 200 percent of the federal poverty line) is currently expected to pay about $1,550 in premiums. Under the Senate bill, that would be $2,412. A 30-year-old earning that amount, however, would be expected to pay slightly less, about $1,400 under the Senate bill, compared with $1,550 under current law.

The cost of insurance would likely decrease under the Senate bill, meaning lower premiums. That’s because insurers would be allowed to sell plans that cover a smaller percentage of annual costs and fewer services. But removing the requirement that people get insurance will likely mean fewer healthy people signing up for plans, which would be worse for premiums.

A common complaint about Obamacare was that it hurt the middle class. It’s true that the middle class didn’t turn out to sign up for insurance under the ACA marketplaces the way lower-income people who received a lot of subsidies did. The Senate GOP bill could exacerbate that problem because it would further restrict who can get subsidies. People who don’t want insurance would no longer be required to either buy it or pay a tax, but it’s not clear that this legislation would make it easier for them to afford insurance if they wanted it.

The 49 percent who get insurance through their employer:

Employers will no longer be required to offer health insurance, which could affect people who are insured through their employers. But the Senate bill also keeps a tax that’s generally loved by economists and unpopular with the public: the “Cadillac tax.” Currently, people with employer-sponsored insurance get a tax break on money they spend on their coverage. The Cadillac tax essentially would cap that tax break, charging a 40 percent tax on insurance premiums paid beyond a cutoff (the tax wouldn’t start until 2020, but it would affect plans costing more than $10,200 in 2018 dollars).

There’s debate among experts over whether employers will adapt their plans to prevent employees from having to pay that tax, likely by raising deductibles, or will find creative ways to reduce health care costs so the plans don’t cost so much.

The 9 percent who are uninsured:

The fate of this group is the question looming over the Senate as it prepares for a report from the Congressional Budget Office, which will assess the bill’s impact. As with the House bill, the number of uninsured will likely be projected to grow under the Senate bill. Some could join the ranks of the uninsured by choice if the individual requirement to buy insurance were to go away. But others would be priced out of the market. A pending report from the CBO, due by early next week, will help clarify who might be uninsured under the Senate bill. But there would likely be an increase among at least three groups: 1. low-income people who currently qualify for Medicaid but would be cut from the program, 2. older adults, because insurers would be allowed to charge them higher premiums under the Senate bill than they can under current law, and 3. young and healthy adults who might have less incentive to buy insurance in the absence of the individual mandate. It would likely also include a swath of middle-income adults who are already uninsured, those who receive little in the way of help to buy insurance but still face relatively high premiums.

The country as a whole:

There would be “winners” and “losers,” as there are with every health care policy. The details matter, and policy wonks will surely begin to shake out their effects on the insurance market over the next few days. But the main outcomes are clear. The wealthiest people would get a large tax cut. The poorest would be the most likely to lose their insurance. The cost of insurance would go down for some, particularly younger adults. For middle-income, older adults who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare, premiums would go up. But, as with the ACA, the bill would do little to curb overall spending on health insurance, which means someone will be stuck with the bill. The Affordable Care Act was a redistribution of wealth that took money from the highest earners and used it to pay for coverage for the poorest. The government also foots a larger share of the bill. Under the GOP Senate bill, many of those costs would revert to individuals with low incomes.

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Posted by Kyle Wagner

New York is not a place where hope lives long.

On the eve of the 2017 NBA Draft, Knicks president Phil Jackson appeared on the team’s MSG Network to explain why the team was entertaining trade offers for Kristaps Porzingis, the best young prospect the franchise has seen since Patrick Ewing. Not that there are many contenders for that particular throne. And while Knicks fans understandably don’t extend much benefit of the doubt to Jackson and the front office, trading a player like Porzingis is practically unheard of, especially for the reasons that the Knicks are considering trading him.

Tension between Porzingis and the Knicks rose following a missed exit interview following the season; Porzingis’s brother has acted as an intermediary since. But the rift goes all the way back to the 2015 draft, when Jackson reportedly preferred Duke center Jahlil Okafor for, let’s say unconventional reasons. Following the season, Jackson expressed concerns about Porzingis’s ability to stand up to a full season’s schedule, and bizarrely complimented him for going a full game without taking a 3-pointer. Jackson has openly antagonized star Carmelo Anthony for months, which frustrated Porzingis, who sees Anthony as a mentor. And with the team president in open war with his two best players, the Knicks have held pre-draft workouts accentuating the Triangle offense — a system neither quite fits, and which likely precludes the Knicks’ selecting top prospects such as De’Aaron Fox.

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Knicks, who currently hold the No. 8 pick, have been in touch with every team that has a top-5 pick, and are looking for one of those picks in addition to a talented young star. For instance, Ian Begley reports that potential Phoenix deals include Dragan Bender or Marquese Chriss along with the No. 4 pick. But even in the best case scenario, the sort of young player the Knicks could get from the teams in the top five accentuates the trouble with trading a player like Porzingis.

Prospects like Chriss or Julius Randle of the Lakers or even Jaylen Brown on the Celtics all have potential, but it’s uncertain whether they’ll fulfill it and become playoff-caliber starters. And that uncertainty goes double for whomever the Knicks draft, whether it’s Jackson’s reported favorite, Kansas’s Josh Jackson, or the big man the team has reportedly eyed as a Porzingis replacement, Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen. Porzingis has room to improve as well, but fulfilling potential is much less in doubt — he’s already incredibly valuable on the floor.

Alonzo Mourning Joe Smith
Brevin Knight Kevin Johnson
Carlos Boozer Michael Beasley
Chris Webber Mike Miller
Elton Brand Rasheed Wallace
Gilbert Arenas Ronnie Brewer
Hedo Turkoglu Stephon Marbury
James Harden Terry Cummings
Jason Kidd Wayman Tisdale
The small list of young, good players who were traded

Since 1980, all players who were traded in the first three years of their career, younger than 23, and ranked in the top 100 of Win Shares through their first two seasons.

Dealing a young player who has made an immediate impact is exceedingly rare. Next to this paragraph is a list of every player since 1980 who was traded in the first three years of his career, despite being 22 or younger (Porzingis is 21) and ranked in the top 100 of Win Shares through his first two seasons.

Win Shares aren’t an absolute measure of a player’s worth — Porzingis trails the marks set by fringe NBA players such as Josh Childress and Nenad Kristic through two years — but they’re good enough to give us a broad peer group. For the most part, a team only parts with a promising young player when its hand is forced either by the salary cap or by the player himself.

Webber, for instance, had negotiated an opt-out into his rookie deal, and forced a trade due to disagreement with coach Don Nelson. Elton Brand, traded after his second season, was a flight risk at a time before restricted free agency gave home teams an advantage in retaining players. As one of the most valuable rookies ever drafted, Kevin Johnson was traded by the Cavaliers — the worst franchise of the decade — as part of a lopsided deal for Larry Nance and Mike Sanders. Arenas was a second-round pick and restricted free agent. He flipped a coin to decide where to sign; the coin came up Washington and spawned a new rule. You know about James Harden.

Under slightly different circumstances, Jackson would have the right idea. The Knicks have needs at virtually every position; talent-poor teams are supposed to roll large assets into smaller ones in the hopes of turning one potential star into two or three starters. But Porzingis isn’t just a prospect. He’s the sort of concrete asset that teams like the Knicks should be turning their organization inside-out to make happy.

Porzingis’s offensive numbers flattened out in his sophomore season, which may seem like reason for concern. But underneath modest gains to his overall shooting percentage, Porzingis made improvements in key areas. He scored much better around the rim, improving from 57.6 to 70.1 percent on shots from 0 to 3 feet, and from midrange, improving from 40.5 to 48.2 percent from 10 to 16 feet. This was offset by a nosedive on his percentage on long 2s, but he also took fewer of those shots in his second season in favor of more 3-pointers as he adjusted to the NBA 3-point line. Still, he was a good but not exceptional offensive player in a year when fellow young, big stars Karl-Anthony Towns and (especially) Nikola Jokic had breakout seasons.

But while Porzingis has untapped potential on offense, he’s already one of the best defensive players in the league. Here’s a chart showing the defenders who affected opponents’ shot value the most in the regular season:

Draymond Green 1066 866 -200 -2.64
Rudy Gobert 1078 903 -175 -2.16
Anthony Davis 839 700 -139 -1.86
Kristaps Porzingis 812 691 -121 -1.84
Hassan Whiteside 885 764 -121 -1.57
Myles Turner 1014 890 -124 -1.53
LaMarcus Aldridge 706 596 -110 -1.53
Andre Roberson 871 758 -113 -1.43
Giannis Antetokounmpo 811 706 -105 -1.32
Which defenders hampered opponents’ shooting the most?

Regular season 2016-17. “Expected” value is what a shooter would make against an average defender.

Source: NBA

Though he isn’t as well known for his defense as peers on this list, his production stands alongside that of some of the best defensive players in the league. Meanwhile, Towns was ranked 79th, and Jokic was 479th out of 485. In an environment where teams are increasingly packing a few specialized skills into their big men, Porzingis’s ability to protect the rim, score inside and stretch the floor make him ready to contribute to a contending team right now, today, even if he isn’t quite ready to carry an offense.

In sum, Porzingis’s production outpaces his hype. That makes his place on the trading block something familiar to Knicks fans: a reality even more nightmarish than advertised.

VIDEO: Why the No. 1 pick is such a valuable crapshoot

ESPN Video Player
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Posted by Neil Paine

In the age of superteams and super-duper teams, the Golden State Warriors built the ultimate doomsday machine when they added Kevin Durant in free agency last summer. Winning a championship this year seemed — and ultimately was — inevitable. But before KD put pen to paper, Golden State had captured one title and set the all-time wins record. And it was done with a roster largely built through the draft. The Warriors were the poster children for how to build a team through savvy scouting and player development, not reckless spending.

Likewise, we can make a pretty good guess that the team that one day unseats Golden State will not be a creaky monument to Russian oligarchy, but rather more organic. So on draft day, let’s imagine how a team might build through the draft, stockpiling young talent and maxing out their collective potential. Could such a team rise to the Warriors’ level? Maybe. But everything would have to go right for our team, from lucking out in the lottery to nailing its picks and then developing them into stars. In other words, to beat the Warriors, you have to do what the Warriors did.

First things first: It isn’t easy to jam-pack a roster with a bunch of promising young players. Even an aggressive tanking effort like Sam Hinkie’s “Process” in Philadelphia can’t guarantee that the lottery balls will fall the way they’re expected to. Indeed, the Sixers under Hinkie suffered below-average lottery luck. Meanwhile, other teams can always swoop in and snag the top pick (think the Cavaliers). Although Philly still managed to draft some high picks over the years — including, finally, a No. 1 choice in Ben Simmons last year — it didn’t get as much out of the draft as its fans might have expected when the Process began.

And because the value of a pick diminishes so rapidly from No. 1 down, any unfavorable bounce in the lottery could derail our imaginary rebuild before it begins. Here’s the expected value for each pick slot — as measured by players’ Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) over the course of their first five NBA seasons — since the lottery era began in 1985:

Early in the draft, the curve is steep. The average No. 2 pick is worth only about 80 percent as many VORP in his first five seasons as the average No. 1, and players only get less valuable from there. Each additional pick produces a lot less than the slot before, emphasizing how costly every random tumble in the lottery can be.

But let’s say our theoretical team gets its hands on a collection of valuable draft picks. What are the odds that it will take the right player at each slot? According to my research, there’s about a 70 percent chance that a team won’t take the best player available with any given pick at or near the top of the draft. Of course, the haul is still usually decent even if a team doesn’t nail its pick perfectly — but at the same time, “decent” doesn’t really help build a Warriors-killer.

VIDEO: Why the No. 1 pick is such a valuable crapshoot

ESPN Video Player

Despite those odds, plenty of teams manage to look smart in the draft every year. The Warriors themselves had a terrific series of drafts between 2009 and 2012, when they picked up Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in rapid succession. That group generated about 25 more points of VORP than they should have based on where they were picked, giving Golden State one of the shrewdest four-year stretches of drafts in the lottery era:

CLE 1985-88 7 Kevin Johnson 12.9 34.7
CLE 2002-05 1 LeBron James 27.4 29.5
DET 1985-88 27 Dennis Rodman 12.8 28.6
NO 2002-05 4 Chris Paul 24.7 28.4
LAL 1993-96 10 Eddie Jones 14.0 27.8
SA 2008-11 15 Kawhi Leonard 17.0 27.4
DET 1994-97 3 Grant Hill 18.1 26.3
TOR 1997-00 9 Tracy McGrady 13.5 26.1
SEA 1986-89 17 Shawn Kemp 11.8 25.9
GS 2009-12 35 Draymond Green 15.8 24.8
The best four-year draft runs, by Value Over Replacement Player, 1985-2016

* Value Over Replacement Player. Based on draftees’ first five NBA seasons, versus the average expected VORP for the slot where each player was picked. Players who were traded at the draft are assigned to the team that acquired them.


And this methodology probably underrates the drafting job done by former Warriors general manager Larry Riley — and his replacement, Bob Myers, who made the team’s best pick when he drafted Draymond Green 35th overall in 2012 — since it looks at only the first five seasons of a player’s career. Curry, for instance, didn’t reach his full game-breaking potential until his sixth season in the league.

But just as studies have found in other sports (most notably the NFL), there isn’t much consistent skill to making better-than-average picks in the NBA draft. The correlation between a team’s per-pick return on investment in one three-year period and the next is only 0.014 — a practically nonexistent relationship. Even the Warriors picked big-man bust Ekpe Udoh sixth overall in between the first rounds in which they snapped up Curry and Thompson.

With all these factors stacked against teams built around touted draft picks, it’s no wonder they have a spotty record of converting potential to results. Using the same method of evaluating talent bases as my colleague Kyle Wagner and I created for this story about the Minnesota Timberwolves, I measured how many highly drafted young players each team had on its roster at the same time. I then built a model using that data to predict how a team might fare over the next five seasons based on its young talent. For most teams in recent history, it’s tough to see much of a relationship between young talent and how much the team’s Elo rating improved, above and beyond what we’d simply expect from ordinary reversion to the mean.

To show this, let’s give our team a starting Elo of 1400, basically where the Warriors themselves were after the 2011-12 season. Here’s what that model would predict its peak Elo to be over the next five seasons, depending on how much young talent it currently has:

Only at the most extreme edge of young talent, where the sample of historical examples is limited, do we see the potential upside usually associated with a group of highly drafted prospects playing together. (Think of the 2009-10 Oklahoma City Thunder, one of the greatest collections of pure talent ever assembled, coalescing into an NBA finalist within a few seasons.) Short of that, it’s tough to improve more than normal reversion to the mean would predict by simply stocking up on a bunch of kids with raw draft pedigree. Future stardom is unpredictable (again, see teams’ lack of consistency in getting better-than-average return on picks), and young players in particular tend to amplify one another’s flaws when playing together.

But if our hypothetical Warriors-killer does manage to survive the lottery, make the right picks in the draft, get those prospects on the court together and then max out their potential, the model predicts the upper bound for its eventual peak Elo would be 1762. That’s roughly where the Warriors will be starting from next season (after reverting their final 2016-17 rating to the mean), and it’s also roughly the same Elo carried at season’s end by the 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers — not coincidentally, the last team to unseat the Warriors in the playoffs.

A lot has to go right to get to that point, and most teams who travel down that path will fall short. But the Warriors will also feel the tug of parity soon — however gently — and at the same time, some team will eventually clear all the hurdles and build the challenger to Golden State’s throne. There’s a decent chance that journey starts in Brooklyn tonight, at the draft.

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Posted by Perry Bacon Jr.

If you’re wondering what will happen with the Senate’s effort to repeal Obamacare, I recommend you follow the words, actions and eventually the votes of four Republican senators over the next days or weeks: Susan Collins (Maine), Mike Lee (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rand Paul (Kentucky.)

Why those four? First, they are part of a broader group of Republican senators who have been complaining about the GOP’s repeal-Obamacare process since the start of the year. Lee and Paul, along with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, have generally worried that the Obamacare repeal may still leave too much of the law in place. “No Obamacare lite,” Paul wrote in February.

On the other ideological end, Collins and Murkowski — along with Sens. Bill Cassidy (Louisiana), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Cory Gardner (Colorado), Dean Heller (Nevada) and Rob Portman (Ohio) — have at times pushed back against repealing too much of Obamacare, worrying that the Republicans may not be doing enough to protect people on Medicaid or those with pre-existing conditions.

Susan Collins -3 86.0%
Rand Paul +30 87.8
Lisa Murkowski +15 92.9
Dean Heller -2 93.0
Ted Cruz +9 95.3
Cory Gardner -5 95.3
Mike Lee +18 95.3
Rob Portman +8 95.3
Shelley Moore Capito +42 97.6
Bill Cassidy +20 97.7
Senators who have expressed doubts about the Obamacare repeal

Trump score measures how often members of Congress vote with Trump’s position on major legislation.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

So any of these members could provide the three votes that would kill this bill. I chose those four because I would argue they would have the clearest rationales to stop an Obamacare repeal and be able to explain that vote to their Republican constituents. Based on our “Trump Score,” Collins and Murkowski are among the five Senate Republicans who most vote against Trump’s positions on major legislation. Collins has a reputation as a more moderate Republican and is in a state that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. In 2010, Murkowski was defeated by a more conservative Republican in Alaska’s GOP primary, but then ran in the general election and won as a write-in candidate.

Also, both of these senators, unlike many of the others in the group of more moderate Republicans, have specifically complained about a provision in the bill that would effectively bar, for one year, Medicaid recipients from getting coverage at Planned Parenthood clinics. Republicans object to Planned Parenthood because it offers abortion services. (There is an existing ban on the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.)

I’m not saying other moderates won’t oppose this legislation. But if a coalition of more moderate members rises up to oppose this bill, it is very likely to include Collins and Murkowski.

On the conservative end, Cruz has been hinting that he wants to use this bill to show fellow Republicans that he can be a team player, working with the party instead of clashing with it as he did for much of 2013 and 2014. It’s hard to see him leading a lonely charge against this legislation.

In contrast, Paul in particular has been scathing. Speaking to reporters this week, before the bill’s official release, he called what he had seen of the Senate’s work on Obamacare repeal “weak-kneed.” Lee has also been a regular critic of the Senate’s bill, even before its release. And the Senate bill, like Obamacare, will use a system of tax credits that vary based on income, which makes it easier for poorer people to buy insurance. The House bill gave tax credits to people to purchase insurance based on age. That change could embolden both Paul and Lee further.

What else might affect these senators’ decisions and potentially those of their colleagues? First, how will outside groups react? Generally, groups representing patients, such as AARP, and medical groups, like the American College of Physicians, have been wary of this legislation. Will they try to aggressively mobilize their members against it? Perhaps more importantly, how will major conservative groups view the bill? One important factor in the initial failure of the House version of Obamacare repeal was that conservative groups felt it did not repeal enough of Obamacare.

Indeed, Philip Rocco, a political scientist at the Marquette University who co-wrote a book called “Obamacare Wars” that details the fights over the law in states from essentially the moment it passed, said it was particularly important to watch the moves of conservative groups such as Americans for Prosperity and Heritage Action in the context of Lee and Paul. He argued that if key parts of the conservative movement said this bill is enough of an Obamacare repeal, it will be hard for Lee and Paul to oppose it.

“I don’t think it’s right to think of them as lone wolves,” Rocco said.

Second, how will Republican House members, particularly the hard-to-please Freedom Caucus, view this legislation? Freedom Caucus members have been in contact with the Senate about the legislation, Alyssa Farah, the group’s spokesperson, told me. That said, it’s not clear if they have signed off on the final product. Republican senators will be leery of backing a bill that the Freedom Caucus does not want, since that means this legislation may not be able to pass the House.

Third, don’t forget the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO is expected to release its “score” of the bill next week. That will be a heavily covered news event. But it is unlikely to be very surprising, since this legislation is not radically different from the two House different bills that the House had evaluated by the CBO. Last month, Collins blasted the House version of this legislation, specifically citing numbers from the CBO report on it.

I have not included President Trump’s reaction as something to watch, because I’m not convinced he will be a major factor. His closed-door comments about the bill the House passed being “mean” were probably not helpful to Republicans, but it’s hard to see him publicly blasting the Senate bill or ultimately vetoing whatever legislation comes through Congress. I will acknowledge that the president’s behavior is unpredictable and that a strong denunciation of a Republican health care bill by a Republican president might shift things.

We don’t know where this process is headed. Senate Republicans say there could be a vote next week, but it could be put off if senators demand changes. A broad coalition of members could come to McConnell and say that they can’t back this bill, as what happened to the initial version. The House is still a wild card.

But this legislation will only be truly dead if it’s clear that at least three Senate Republicans are prepared to vote against it — or they actually do. And that gives a little power to this group of four senators.

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Posted by Ugh

by Ugh

The GOP Senate done released it's ACA repeal bill earlier today.  You can read the bill here if you want.  My brief, fair, & balanced summary: cruelty now, cruelty tomorrow, cruelty forever (even fits in a tweet).

Essentially, the same as the GOP House Bill. 

Was in Vegas on Mon/Tues and it was 117 degrees. Ouch.

Open thread!

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Posted by Walt Hickey

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.


Uber founder Travis Kalanick stepped down as the CEO of the troubled ride-hailing company Tuesday after five major investors in the company called for his resignation. [The New York Times]

10 percent stake

The Wall Street Journal fired its chief foreign affairs correspondent after the Associated Press uncovered evidence that the journalist was involved in business deals with an Iranian-born arms dealer who had been one of his sources. The reporter, Jay Solomon, was allegedly offered a 10 percent stake in a company by his source, though it isn’t clear whether he ever formally accepted. [POLITICO, Associated Press]


On Friday, a judge declared a mistrial in the case of sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby after the jury was unable to come to a verdict in several days of deliberations. ABC News has learned that on two counts of felony aggravated indecent assault, the jury was hung 10-2 in favor of a guilty verdict. On a third count, they were hung 11-1 in favor of acquittal. [ABC News]

50 percent

Share of white Americans who believe black Americans face a lot of discrimination. [PRRI]

$700 million

George Clooney’s tequila brand Casamigos was bought by global liquor juggernaut Diageo for $700 million up front and $300 million over the next 10 years depending on performance. [ABC 7 New York]

$1.2 billion

Consulting firm McKinsey projects banks will cut spending on investment research by $1.2 billion as a result of new European regulation requiring greater transparency regarding research and analyst fees. This is a huge hit to the analyst field, potentially. [Bloomberg]

If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.

CORRECTION (June 22, 9:28 a.m.): The jury in the Cosby sexual-assault trial voted 11-1 to acquit on one charge and 10-2 to convict on two others. A previous version of this story said the 11-1 vote was for conviction.



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