October 13, 2017

TGIF 10/13/17

Boy, I'm glad it's Friday - and I bet I'm not the only one.

For example, how'd you like to be the folks in charge at NBC, the network that gave us the Donald Trump is a bleeping moron story and the Trump talked about a ten-fold increase in nukes story, but didn't give us the Harvey Weinstein story?

At least the Peacock network wasn't alone in that last part.

While Meryl Streep made it clear that not every single body knew about Weinstein and his decades of alleged predatory behavior, it seems to have been a incredibly poorly kept secret. A joke at the Oscars; a joke on 30 Rock; an undercover investigation in which the NYC District Attorney did nothing... Opportunity lost, over and over and over.  How, or why did that happen? That will have to come out in the post mortem.

Meanwhile, reports are that Weinstein is seeking treatment for a problem he doesn't have: sex addiction. That we have to remind people in this day and age that predatory behavior such as that alleged against Weinstein is about power, not about sex, is almost as sad as the apparent willingness of all those everybodies to cover up his behavior for all these years.

Meanwhile, did you hear that Trump has pulled us out of UNESCO?  This United Nations organization, which now seems to focus on designating heritage sites, was once more focused on battling extremists and promoting peace. The US is leaving, we've been told, because of the anti-Israel biases exhibited by UNESCO, particularly in naming part of the West Bank city of Hebron a Palestinian world heritage site.

What was less publicized in reports I heard today is that we have a checkered history with UNESCO, going back decades.  After leaving in 1984 during the Reagan Administration, we  rejoined in 2002; stopped paying our annual dues in 2011 over the admission of Palestine as a member; and lost voting rights in 2013.  I point this out so that people know this isn't just another case of Trump undoing what Obama did. Had that been the case, he would go all in, pay twice what we owe and welcome Palestine to one of the Trump White Houses for a spin on a golf cart.

He did, however, strike two blows against the Affordable Care Act. One will make it easier for 'association' plans to form, across multiple states in some cases; these plans may offer fewer benefits than required for other products under the ACA, along with some other changes. The other was to end the cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurers. Under the ACA, insurers are required to provide subsidies to many subscribers for out of pocket expenses; those costs have been  reimbursed to insurers by the federal government - until now. Barring action by Congress o formally appropriate the money at least in the short term, the CSRs are done.

Trump noted that these were merely subsidies to boost insurance company profits and hey, look at their stock prices! Darn -- he's been tweeting like mad about how the stock market is up and our retirement plans are doing great as a result -- which I thought was a good thing in his worldview, but I guess not when it comes to something that has 'Obama' in its name.

TGIF, indeed.

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