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Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 06:01 PM PDT

Worse than Watergate??!! WTF

by Actuary4Change

I don't usually write diaries in immediate reaction to something I see on T.V.  I'm also not the type to yell at the tube when someone says something stupid.

Ron Christie, on The Ed Show, just caused be to yell, and so I write.

After telling us with a straight face that he thought that terrorism should not be a political issue, he opined that the Obama administration's failure to "tell the truth" about the Benghazi incident was "worse than Watergate."

For the youngsters in the crowd (and my 12 year old was sitting next to me at the time), let's review after the squiggle.

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Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 03:49 PM PDT

It's nice when sons are useful

by Actuary4Change

This diary started as a comment in a thread about banishing sex-role stereotypes, but I decided to flesh it out.

I was raised very pampered, with my mother doing all the cooking, and all of my laundry.  My mother made sure I knew the essentials before I went to college, so I can take care of myself, but I never had to.

My wife and I decided that our house was going to run rather differently.


If his girlfriend hadn't been over, would the salmon have just been broiled?

47%8 votes
52%9 votes

| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Aug 30, 2012 at 05:53 PM PDT

CT-05 Democrats Unite

by Actuary4Change

Today in Connecticut Chris Donovan officially ended his campaign for congress, taking his name off the Working Families Party ballot line and endorsing his primary opponent, Elizabeth Esty.

The Working Families Party quickly followed suit, endorsing Esty.  

After a divisive primary, some progressives, including some on this site, were deriding Esty as a Joe Lieberman clone, and some urged Donovan to remain on the ballot as the candidate of the WFP.

I understand that there is often anger after a primary, and I certainly understand that Donovan had earned a lot of progressive loyalty.  I am very glad, however, that calmer heads prevailed.  Donovan and the WFP have seen that there is more that unites them with Esty than divides them from her.  Moving on from primary rhetoric, she is a true progressive and deserves our support.

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Fri May 27, 2011 at 02:58 PM PDT

CT-05 An open swing seat

by Actuary4Change

With the retirement of Joe Lieberman (Yes, we can all cheer), Chris Murphy (D) CT-05 is leaving his seat to seek the Democratic senate nomination.

Murphy has held the seat for only 4 years, prior to which Nancy Johnson (R) was a 20+ year incumbent.  The Cook Political Report lists the seat as "lean democratic," with a partisan voting index of D+2.  It is clearly a vulnerable seat, and one which Democrats need to hold to make headway in the house.

I'm a friend and supporter of Elizabeth Esty, who is one of the Democratic candidates for this seat, but I want to use this diary to describe the district and give some information about how it has voted.

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Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM PDT

Chris Dodd Says Speak Up

by Actuary4Change

I was at a function featuring Chris Dodd on Sunday.  He spoke about a number of topics, but Health Care was obviously a front and center concern.

Before he spoke, I took my 5 seconds of his attention to thank him for his work on health insurance reform, and he said "Thanks, sometimes it feels like I'm all alone out there."

In his talk, he made it clear that he supports a strong public option, and that he is sick of attempts to be bipartisan with people who only want to scuttle the bill.  He also made it clear that he wants pro-reform voices invited to the White House with the same frequency as Blue Dogs and GOP.

In the Q&A period, I took the opportunity to remind him that the people there were a self-selected group of political activists and to ask him what was the most important thing we could do to help him get the best reform possible.

Nothing he said really surprised me and it certainly fits with recommendations from other diarists, but he emphasized some things that made me think, so I wanted to share them, which I will do after the break.

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The American Academy of Actuaries is a non-partisan organization that dedicates itself to trying to inject sound thinking and analysis into public policy discussions.

The Academy has produced a series of issue papers on the issues around health insurance reform.

Their take on the public option is here

In this diary, I'll take you through their analysis, which does, I think, add some clarity to what is meant by "creating a level playing field."

The bottom line, for those who want to skip the detailed analysis, is that a group of respected, deliberately non-partisan professionals believes that it is possible to design a public plan that can compete with private insurers on a level playing field.  

I think that makes this an excellent reference to rebut the red-state talking point that the public option condemns us to a socialist hell.

Of course, the actuaries who wrote this are non-political, and I'm progressive, so I'm not sure the playing field should be that "level" and I'll discuss that too.

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Fri Jun 19, 2009 at 06:10 PM PDT

Modern Presidential Fly Swatting

by Actuary4Change

We are all familiar with the image of our super-cool president on camera dealing with a house fly.

In this diary, I will present less well known presidental responses to this type of pest.

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Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 08:21 AM PDT

Health: Insurance = "FAIL"

by Actuary4Change

As an actuary, I tend to be sympathetic to the idea that insurance companies should make a profit for their shareholders.  That is, in fact, part of my job.  (As a disclaimer, my company does not offer health insurance)

The problem with health insurance is that the natural desire of the company to make a profit conflicts with the fact that the insured can know a lot about their future health needs before deciding what policy to buy or whether to buy a policy at all.

The outcome of this is that insurance companies try to compete by insuring only the healthiest people to keep claims low, and then engage in practices like recission (h/t slinkerwink), i.e cancelling policies for people who get sick, if there is a minor technical problem with their application, to get the sick people out of their customer base.

As long as we keep thinking about this as "insurance," we will fail, and the system will continue to get worse.  

I'll add more details below the break.

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At our first Organizing for America meeting on Health Care Reform, many people said that they didn't understand the meanings of the terms being used in the debate.

If this is true for the people motivated enough to come to a meeting, it must be even more true for the general public.

As part of our day of service activity, we will be handing out informational material on health-care reform, including a glossary, which is where this diary comes in.

I'm trying to prepare the glossary and I need help.  If you want to lend a hand, please follow me below the fold.

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Elizabeth Esty CT-103rd State took on a 5 time republican incumbent and beat him.  As I wrote last Wednesday, I decided that the best use of my time was to work for her in a close race while letting others ensure Obama's victory.

The result.  A squeaker that wasn't decided until after 11:00 when the absentee ballots were finally counted. There's nothing like a nailbiter to make you feel like your work mattered.

Yes We Did!  We unseated a repugnant Republican and replaced him with a wonderful woman who will serve our district well in Hartford.  With a margin of victory less than 200, all of the people who worked on her campaign know that it couldn't have been done without them.

Away from the limelight.  No TV cameras in the Cheshire Democratic Town Headquarters last night.  A few young print reporters and a town blogger provided the publicity.

Yes we did and I feel great.  

Please follow me below the break.  Elizabeth Esty and other wonderful candidates that you have never heard of deserve it.

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I have made a difficult decision.

After many nights phone-banking, and more recently coordinating phone-banks.

After one trip to New Hampshire to canvass.

After planning to spend GOTV weekend in New Hampshire.

I have decided that I will stop working for the Obama campaign.

My problem is one of divided loyalties.  I will stop working for Obama because I will start working full time for Elizabeth Esty, who is running for the CT-103rd State Legislative seat.

More on my thinking below.


Am I making the right decision to work for the local candidate?

84%61 votes
8%6 votes
6%5 votes

| 72 votes | Vote | Results

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I must admit that I don't think this diary is important.  I don't think that it's a viral meme that will help us win the election.  I don't think it can be used to get out our vote.  I'm just diarying it because I was struck by how clearly John McCain's reaction to his upcoming loss (If We Keep Working Our Asses Off) reflects on his character.

John McCain has worked for the last 8 years to become president.  It is has been his driving ambition.  He endured the humiliation of sucking up to the Right Wing-Nuts to further it.  He worked as hard as he could to achieve it.  So how does he feel now that it is probably slipping away? (IWKWOAO)

According to his Faux News Interview on Sunday, he doesn't want us to feel sorry for him.  He still considers himself a lucky man.  How nobly narcissistic can you get?

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