Saturday, December 21, 2013

Working Hard For A Living

(I know! A black women appearing on a white man's TV show in a maid outfit! How Uddery Racist!)

For just a little fun this week, I decided to see what dear leader had to tell us in his weekly radio address. Here's what I found.

First - the title of the address:

Working Together on Behalf of the American People

Hilarious! Especially since he is heading off for yet another taxpayer funded junket to Hawaii - a state that he was supposedly born in but was never domiciled in politically before he became president:
 On to the address:
Hi, everybody.  
Great. He's channeling that guy again:

He then goes on to talk about how great it was that he bamboozed the weak kneed Republicans to give him virtually everything he wanted in a budget. Here's what he had to say about the end of the sequester that was tying all the incumbents in knots:
This budget will unwind some of the damaging cuts that have threatened students and seniors and held back our businesses.  It clears the path for critical investments in the things that grow our economy and strengthen our middle class, like education and research. 
Here's a little memory test. What major portion of the sequester has crippled the US at a time when the world is teetering on chaos? Oh yeah - the defense cuts. Odd that he forgot them here, especially since he goes on to say:
And it will keep reducing our deficits – at a time when we’ve seen four years of the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II. 
World War II - that is such old news, except when comparing mythical deficit reduction and stuff like that.

He then went on to talk about getting his way with his political appointees:
 Members of Congress also voted to finally allow several dedicated and well-qualified public servants to do their jobs for the American people – many of whom waited months for a simple yes-or-no vote.  
Ha! I am so glad that Senator Obama is not here to hear this president say that. Here's what that guy thought about changing the senate rules that allowed mere men to resist the will the majority:
....everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting and the bitterness, and the gridlock will only get worse.
His next tidbit was about the unemployment payments to the vunerables:
Right now, because Congress failed to act before leaving on vacation, more than one million Americans are poised to lose a vital source of income just a few days after Christmas.  For many people who are still looking for work, unemployment insurance is a lifeline that can make the difference between temporary hardship or lasting catastrophe.  Instead of punishing these families who can least afford it – especially now – Congress should first restore that lifeline immediately, then put their entire focus on creating more good jobs that pay good wages.  
So what exactly is he talking about? People who have been periodically unemployed since he took office and started the recovery from the ravages on the economy the that the Hated Bush instituted have been drawing temporary payments until they can get another job. Unless congress once again extends the amount of time they can draw these payments, they will become destitute (but still draw disability, child tax credits, free health care, Obama phones, and food stamps). The current program allows non-workers to get checks for up to 99 weeks. Doing the math on that:

 99 weeks / 4 weeks a month / 12 months a year = 2 years

Two years unemployed. Think about that for a minute. Ouch!

Moving on, he then talks about focus:
That’s what I’ll be focused on next year, and every day I have the privilege of being your President.  Growing the economy.  Expanding opportunity. 
Because he has <sigh> had to focus on so many other things up to now (hint, hint Obamacare). Then he had go to say this at the end:
Have a great weekend and a very Merry Christmas.
How Dare He! Religion has no place in our government! Who is proof reading these things? The correct term to use Mr. President is Happy Holidays. Either that or be inclusive and wish us Happy Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzza, or Winter Solstice. Actually, since today is Winter Solstice that would have been more appropriate.

So, to all my Wiccan readers out there, and I know there are more than a few (who are actually not offended by a wish of Happy Christmas),

Happy Winter Solstice - now is the beginning of the new beginning!

Hero of the Week 12-21-13

The hero of the week is shared today by these two people:

(Mike Fitzpatrick - R, PA)

(Martha Roby - R, AL)

What did they do to deserve this honor? Well the Republican leadership struck a deal with the devil to avoid a shutdown and pass a budget that would allow all  the incumbents to avoid the drama of a government shutdown for years but keep the free government cheese flowing to the vulnerables. How did they work this magic? Perhaps they cut their own pensions and the pensions of their staff? Or maybe the cut the growth of the pensions for the civil employees? Nope - they cut the pensions of the retired military.

What these folks did was to introduce a bill that would restore those benefits and "pay" for it by closing a loophole in the "Child Tax Credit" that allows illegal aliens to get end of year payouts from the government. To understand what wonderful irony this bill is one has to understand what this "Child Tax Credit". When filling out our income tax, most of us deal with tax deductions. That is, activities or investments that either reduce the amount of our income that is taxed, or the amount of taxes we have to pay. The key element of this is that when our taxes reach 0, we are done - we don't have to pay. Tax Credits on the other hand go beyond this. When the taxes of the vunerables reach beyond 0, then the credit amount beyond that gets paid to them. This allows people who don't pay any tax or participate in revenue activity to get a lump payment from the US treasury at the end of they year (in addition to the unemployment, disability, and food stamps they get throughout the year). When viewed from a perspective of the people who actually pay taxes and make money  funding the government largess, it is naked wealth redistribution.

What makes the Child Tax Credit particularly insidious is that since the IRS does not check the citizenship of the tax filers, illegal aliens, and in fact any foreign entity with a US mailing address, can quite legally and legitimately participate in the program and get the end of year payola. With this bill, these two congressfolks highlighted this loophole and the despicable nature of funding the "deal" on the backs of veterans who gave their lives to our country with 20 years of dust, grit, bullets, and blood. While their modification to the bill has little chance of making it past Sub-Emperor Harry Reid's senate, hopefully it will twerk the few American voters that are still paying attention. For that they deserve the GAA Hero Of The Week Award.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bye Bye Bernake

Yes I picked this clip because I liked the series, not because Bernanke has anything to do with Pappy Boyington - other than the allusion in the title..

"QE2? Wasn't that a big assed party boat?"

I admit, thinking through what QE2 does is hard, because to most of us it just doesn't make much sense. As a programmer, I generally find that if some complex operation doesn't make much sense, it generally is the root cause of a problem. I am thinking that we will find that QE2 (or 3, or 4) is probably the most caustic, damaging, thing that a government can do to a free and independent people.

So let's go down that rabbit hole and see what is going on. 'Quantitative Easing' (or QE) sounds pretty fancy but vague right? Like most made up government programs it could mean almost anything, from making sure that hammock manufacturer use an appropriate amount of squash products in their production to ensuring that all red headed women are advised of the dangers of traffic cones while navigating the barrios of LA. Well meaning, pointless exercises that mostly won't hurt anyone, right?

Well, not exactly. What is actually going on is this. The Fed notices that there are a great many companies and people borrowing money to keep things going. As the debt gets higher and higher, it gets harder and harder for those people to get more credit, keep buying things, and things keep going. The solution is for the Fed to step in and buy debt from the banks. Why that sounds just great, right? I mean the government prints the money, so its got lots of it. Buying debt, especially long term debt just makes that debt go away and the banks are free to loan out more money to people to buy things.

Not exactly. The one flaw in this is where does the Fed get the money to buy this debt? While they do literally print money, the amount of money in circulation is kinda encumbered by those silly elected people in Congress. So what's a Fed to do? Well, up to a point, they can issue new debt in the form of treasury bonds. Banks love those because they guarantee a return and, compared to the rest of the crazy market, are a fairly safe investment. So banks (and other foreign and domestic investors), gobble them up. Then the bastards in Congress get all snippy about not letting the public debt get too high, so the Fed has to buy that debt back. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

As long as no one notices all this money moving in a circle this works beautifully. The stock market cheers, as they are getting the benefit of people buying things and things are wonderful in the short term: there are chickens in every pot or pot in every chicken; thank you Obamacare! Since the debt being bought back is not due for several years and is spread over trillions and trillions of dollars, following the money is hard. Common sense says at some point people are going to realize that no one is working anymore and no one has any real money. But, as Bernanke has demonstrated, the farther out you buy the debt, the longer you can play the game.

Here was my acid test on this. Bernanke insist that "There has been meaningful progress with the job market". Now let's think about that for a minute. The only reason that the job market looks good is the massive number of people that have 'given up' looking for a job and no longer counted as unemployed. As anyone looking for a job can tell you, from high tech gurus to general laborer, there are just not that many opportunities out there and most employers are reluctant to hire. This trend is not getting better. Bernanke is supposed to be an economic genius. To say that 'progress has been made in the job market' demonstrates his disingenuousness and makes the rest of his statements suspect. 

The wages of QE2 (and 3, and 4) are coming due, and I fear there is nothing that anyone can do to stop it. My greatest fear for the country and my family is that in 10 years we will look back on the 'Obama Years' as the good economic times that stole our future. Do you think i'm being over-dramatic? If you are over 30 years old, take a minute and think back to 1999. Were you economically happy and productive back then? How does that compare to where you are now? Now imagine that slide down continuing. It's not a pretty sight, is it?

Food for thought on the start of this lovely December day.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hero of the Week 12-15-13

This week's Hero Of the Week award goes to the ever lovely Megyn Kelly for calling out the racist nonsense of trying to change the historical figures of Santa and Jesus from 'white' the 'black'. Yes, Jesus probably had a olive, not white skin, and Santa is based on the life of St Christopher, a Canaaite, which would put him in the same area, thus also with olive skin. Neither were probably a black African. The larger point, that skin color does not matter is lost on the humorless black racist, who want everything to be judged by color. By that measure, the growing polar ice caps are racist!

So, congratulations Megyn Kelly for refusing to bend to the black racist - you are the hero of the week!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Kayak Crap - Ignore this if you don't give a damn about kayak crap...

It's probably no secret here I am a novice kayaker. To qualify that a bit, I do mostly flat water kayaking, in season, and have been doing it for a couple of years. I do own a spray skirt but have never used it and have never rolled my kayak.

I got to thinking about doing cold weather kayaking so I did a little research on what type of gear I would need to do this safely. The proper wear for cold weather garb falls into two categories. There is your basic wet suit and something called a dry suit. While a wet suit can be had for around $100, a dry suit starts at about $400.

Now being a cheap bastard, I was leaning towards the wet suit. However, since making the wrong decision could lead to a certain icy death, I thought i'd turn to a co-worker who is a certified dive instructor and has spent many hours in cold water teaching idiots how to deal with the briny deep. Here is his response, which I believe is the best scientific discussion of cold weather gear for kayaking that I have ever read.


Really tough question to answer without knowing more info. What kind of kayaking do you do. What temp do you do it in? 60 water? 40deg water? Freezing conditions like now?

You lose heat in several ways. I'm going to simplify this from true thermodynamics, so we'll consider two ways. Think of a cool day outside wearing no shirt. Your body warms the air directly next to your body. If the wind is blowing, that warm air gets blown away quickly, so your body has to reheat the air. This makes you cold. If the air is still, your body is more comfortable. But then the air transfers heat to the surrounding air, and things cool off. That is the thermal conductivity of air. The cooler the outside air, the cooler you will feel.

A windbreaker helps by stopping then wind. It doesn't do much for the thermal conductivity of air, but it stops the wind from blowing the warm air way. A coarse wool sweater may not stop the wind as much, but it helps with the second way, providing insulation so that the thermal conductivity is much better. The best is a windbreaker over a wool sweater. The wind is stopped with the windbreaker, and the sweater helps the thermal conductivity.

With water, everything is sped up. It pulls the heat away so much faster.

With a wet suit, you will get water next to your skin. So there is some "wind" that gets through the "windbreaker". However, it slows the water movement, and keeps the now warmer water next to you, so you stay warmer. The thickness of the wet suit slows the thermal conductivity.

A dry suit keeps all water away from your body. So you don't get wet. Also, the outside of the suit is usually a lot "slicker" so it doesn't hold a lot of extra water for evaporative cooling. Much better all around.

But here's the rub with a wet suit. When diving, your wet suit gets soaked. But your ok. The water temp is similar around you. But then you get out. The evaporative cooling pulls the heat away from your body really fast. I have been diving in a 7mm suit in 40deg water. I'm cold, but not too bad. I get out of the water into a 60deg air temp with a faint breeze. I'm suddenly very cold. Much colder then in the water. I would often keep students in the water when teaching to avoid that. You can limit the evaporative cooling with a windbreaker over the wet-suit, but it still cools you down.

Now, for a couple of specifics for kayaking.

You're not usually submerged. So you may not get that layer of water next to your skin. That will help a lot. You may get splashed, (a lot maybe), so you will get some cooling. However, you can put jackets and such over the wet-suit for thermal protection. The also helps with kayaking in variable weather. You can adjust your jackets and such for controlling your temp. If warm, shed a layer, if cool, add.

It all goes out the window if you go under, or drenched from the water.. Your jackets get soaked, and unless they are wool or a smart layer, you loose all thermal protection from your jackets. Your wet suit will protect you from the sudden burst of water and will help keep you warm (especially with a wind-breaker helping keep the wind from helping to evaporate water from your wet-suit.)

With a dry-suit. If you go under or soaked, you don't care. You won't get wet. Your thermals are all inside, so they stay dry. Much better. However, you have a harder time to shed layers or deal with getting too hot or cold. You can't easily add/remove layers. And if you open the dry-suit to change thermals, you really have to be careful not to fall in.

From my experience with kayaking, here would be my recommendations...
  • If you are doing casual kayaking, little to no whitewater, generally very stable in the water, and you are in 60deg water or spring/fall conditions, go with the wet-suit. Throw some fleece on as needed to compensate. If you go in the water, take a couple of minutes to towel off and such.

  • If you are doing more extreme kayaking, lots of whitewater, or really cold temps like now, you go into the water a lot, or get drenched regularly go with the dry-suit. Bring some layers, but pull off to the side and get stable before cracking that dry-suit to change clothes.

Texas On My Mind

This is how my mind saw this ad from Drudge this morning:

I either either need a beer or a trip down south, or both...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hero of the Week 12-08-13

There just weren't many actual people that distinguished themselves this week as heroes (or I wasn't paying attention), so I decided to pick an inanimate object and of course the people who made it possible - Say hello to my little friend - the JDAM is this week's hero.

I remember working on the B1 simulators when the JDAM first came out (or were being adapted for use with the B1). JDAM, short for Joint Direct Attack Munition is not a bomb, but an adapter or 'tail kit' that is placed on a conventional bomb to give it the ability to 'fly' to a target. Each bomb can then be programmed to target an individual coordinate. With the advent of the JDAM, carpet bombing became a thing of the past. When you combine this awesome capability with the load capacity of the B1 to drop 24 GBU-31's on individual targets simultaneously, dynamically settable by the B1 crew en-route to a safe drop point rain or shine or dark of night and automatically, you bring a whole new meaning to the term 'shock and awe'. The JDAM, the B1 and B-52 crews that deploy them, and the guys and girls at Lockheed (or is it Boeing?) that build them. They are the Heroes of the Week. Watch the above video and be amazed.

Finally, if you come across a person or thing that you think deserves the 'Hero of the Week' award, by all means, use that 'email me' button over to the right to give me a head's up. I am always on the lookout for a hero who may be otherwise overlooked.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Comeback Humor

Just a little comeback humor:

I know, right? It's like Romulans

landing on the planet Tatoonie,

fighting off Daleks,

and buying a souvenir One Ring from Gollum
Who the hell are you and what have you done with my universe?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Hiatus

In case you haven't noticed, i'm going idle for Thanksgiving. The free ice cream will resume on Monday...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Food OMG!

I was perusing the Shelby Star facebook site for my HOTW post, and I came across this picture of a buffet in a story about food inspections:

As a paleo guy, I was speechless. It's been a very long time since I've been to a buffet place, so I had kinda forgotten what it was like. There was only one thing in that picture which I would consider eating ant that's the mixed veggies there in the center. All the rest is is just filler poison for my body. I can see if this were what I ate every day I would still be as big as a house. I look at the typical old white (or black) southern guy that I was with the protruding pot belly and shake my head and think, man, that is why I looked that way. Your mileage may vary.

Hero of the Week - 11-22-13

I don't have a picture for this guy as he apparently has no internet presence and didn't concede to have the local newspaper take his picture. But what Antony Cannon did, while exceeding foolish when viewed from 500 miles away was the right thing to do at the time. Here's the story. He is a news paper delivery guy who, while doing his early morning thing, saw a teddy bear sitting in the middle of the road. Sensing it was weird, he went and picked it up. When he did, a odd metal object fell out. The article didn't note if he carried the thing around while he did his route or was on his way home. In any case, when he got home, he placed the 'metal thing' on the railing of his porch, and that's when he saw some smoke coming out of it and called the police. The bomb squad from the neighboring county confirmed it as a bomb and 'deactivated' it.

Now admittedly, almost everything he did after seeing the IED in the middle of the road was wrong, and just a little crazy. That being said, from what we can tell from the two original stories written about this, his instincts to do the right thing to remove a threat from potentially hurting some kid in his community was the right one. In my book, that gets him the hero of the week award for a week occupied by way to many zeros (or as Denny calls them, AOTWs).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ruling Class and Obamacare

There has been a great deal of coverage about how hard people are finding it to sign up for Obamacare using the online exchanges. Take this story about how there is no one in Oregon who has signed up, despite there being an exchange there. Then I got to wondering...

If members of congress and their staffs were all going on the exchanges, albeit with massive subsidies that the rest of us don't have, how were they signing up for it if most of their home states were either saddled with the non-functioning generic Obamacare site or their own non-functioning state sites? Looking just a little deeper, I found a list for the House and Senate noting what members said they would use. From those list, it appears that the vast majority were choosing the safer 'no comment'  response to whomever is generating those lists. If only they had followed dear leader's example and just voted 'present' when Obamacare came up in the first place then we wouldn't be in this mess. Voting 'no comment' now is just too little, too late.

However, there were quite a few who said they were going to use the exchanges. So how exactly are they signing up? This article implies that they are using the DC health care exchange. (yes - that exchange that I wrote about earlier) Is that even legal? I believe they are bound to use their home state's exchange, not the one set up for DC residents. That is unless they are claiming to live in DC, in which case they are not qualified to represent their home states in office. I am very confused...

The joke appears to be in them though, as they are getting shafted by the same shoddy website that the rest of the DC residents are dealing with. Turns out that being political suck-ups and actually turning out a real, functioning e-commerce site don't necessarily equate to the same thing. Looking further at that article, the insurance companies have set up special phone lines for congress critters to use, bypassing the exchanges altogether. I am pretty sure that wasn't in the law either.

It will be interesting to find out how many of them actually end up without insurance like too many of my fellow citizens. I am dreaming of a remake of that classic movie: "Mr Smith goes to Washington and Looses His Health Insurance". 

Welcome to the 90's

I saw this on Drudge - people are already camping out to get Black Friday deals. That would be the deals that appear one day only over a week from now. We have this thing called the iternet now where you can shop for deals right there on your computer device and never have to set foot in a store. Someone should tell these people about it...

I guess for some people it's fun to camp out in front of a store for a week on the chance of getting something free. I am thinking if they are willing to do that, then maybe someone should get them a nice Mosin Nagant ($130 here) and send them into the woods to get some free deer meat. Even if  they don't see a deer, the experience will be epic by comparison...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ten Sentences

As Google has noted, today marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg address. It is worth noting not just what he said, but why. Here's the words:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. 
Are there any answers here that apply to today's world? A southerner would argue that there are many similarities between the state's rights issues that brought about succession and the same states's rights issues that are being virtually trampled today by Obamacare. That the southerners poured their treasure, lives, and land into an unsuccessful struggle for their right of self determination says a great deal about how important that was to them. Yes, there is no denying that slavery was a part of the southern platform. It was used to great effectiveness by Lincoln to drum up support for war, and ultimately succeed in preserving the union. It is perhaps the only part of that terrible struggle that justified it.

But Lincoln was right in that last part - the part about being 'of the people, by the people, and for the people'. That is perhaps the legacy we can all agree on and hope for.

Monday, November 18, 2013

It was bound to happen

I saw this on Drudge this morning had had to laugh a little:

I have often heard folks wonder if it was legal for a runner to be taken down by his hair, and, according to the article, it actually is. So just to be clear, horse collar tackles are not ok, but hair pulling / tackling is. I am waiting for the first player union representative to step up and advocate to a penalty for hair pulling. If football wasn't already turned into a completely gutless sport, then that would mark the end of the beginning of the end. I also have to add, if the picture of Babin holding up the dreadlocks that he ripped out of Ellington's head doesn't make you think of professional wrestling I don't know what will. He really should have been flagged for taunting which is an enforceable penaltyNow we just need some chairs on the sidelines for the coaches to throw around.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

There's a dark cloud in my silver lining...

I was doing some research for yet another post about Obamacare and I can across a timeline for Obamacare. Delving into that, the very last thing listed was this:
2015: Physicians will be paid on the quality of care, not the volume
That got me to wondering exactly what that meant? A little digging led me to this site where the 'quality initiatives' were documented and defined. As a long time software developer I am more than familiar with the nonsense that SEI and the quality assurance gurus foisted on the development community. I will note that their intention was well meaning, but when the government and industry realized just how costly (and ultimately useless) implementing total quality initiatives were, they by and large backed away from it. So when I saw quality mentioned in the context of Obamacare, I detected the stench of a very large rat.

Saying the noted web site documented and defined the quality measurements is being a bit generous. Like most implementations of quality goals,  the actual mechanics of the thing is a bit hard to root out from all the glowing happy talk about quality and measurement. This is not some esoteric subject for doctors. Their actual compensation will be tied to how good they can make their numbers look, which in turn will be used to compute a quality multiplier (or divider) that will be applied to their compensation. These documents (zip file if you really want to study them) define how those numbers are computed, and therein lies the bloated body of a fetid rat.

Let's take one example here. Consider a preventative measure, like a colonoscopy. Here's what the measure looks for:
Percentage of patients aged 50 through 75 years who received the appropriate colorectal cancer screening
Sounds great right? If the doctor is making sure his patients are getting the screenings they need, then he is doing a good job. Now, consider for a minute how he proves that. Here is the proof that he has to submit:
Numerator Instructions: Patients are considered to have appropriate screening for colorectal cancer if any of the following are documented:
• Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within the last 12 months
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy during the reporting period or the four years prior to the
reporting period
• Colonoscopy during the reporting period or the nine years prior to the reporting period
NUMERATOR NOTE: Documentation in the medical record must include a note indicating the date when the colorectal cancer screening was performed. A result is not required if the documentation is clearly part of the “medical history” section of the record. If it is unclear whether the documentation is part of the medical history, then the result or finding must be present (this ensures that the screening was performed and not merely ordered).
That's right. The doctor, in order to get paid, will be submitting your records to a government bureaucrat who will check off every blood test and butt probe to make sure that the doctor deserves credit for remembering to do the test. If for some reason they decide that say, white males of the age of 65 or older no longer need cancer butt probes, then they will just tune the award parameters accordingly. The doctors will respond to the tuning, and stop remembering them.

So you have some very disturbing things happening here. First, you are virtually guaranteed that some government bureaucrat will be pawing through your detailed health history. If you think that data will remain private then think again. There is nothing that will remain private. Take this little quality measure action that your doctor must take if your BMI measurement indicates your are fat:
Follow-Up Plan – Proposed outline of treatment to be conducted as a result of a BMI out of normal parameters. Such follow-up may include but is not limited to: documentation of a future appointment, education, referral (such as, a registered dietician, nutritionist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, primary care provider, exercise physiologist, mental health professional, or surgeon), pharmacological interventions, dietary supplements, exercise counseling, or nutrition counseling.
There you go. The doctors will be evaluated (and ultimately paid) by checking to see how many fat people they send to the shrinks for re-education. 

It actually gets worse. Consider this definition of unhealthy alcohol use:
Unhealthy Alcohol Use – Covers a spectrum that is associated with varying degrees of risk to health. Categories representing unhealthy alcohol use include risky use, problem drinking, harmful use, and alcohol abuse, and the less common but more severe alcoholism and alcohol dependence. Risky use is defined as > 7 standard drinks per week or > 3 drinks per occasion for women and persons > 65 years of age; > 14 standard drinks per week or > 4 drinks per occasion for men ≤ 65 years of age.
So if you have more than two glasses of wine with your evening meal, or drink that whole six pack while once again watching the Redskins do truly stupid things on the gridiron, your doctor will be reporting that he found that out to the appropriate комисса́р. There is nothing in there that says what he has to do if he finds out information, only that he must report it. The important thing to understand that the framework for large scale social engineering is being erected. The incentives mean that your doctor's pay will be directly tied to his willingness to divulge the most intimate details of your health. There are clues that also tied to these incentives are his action to refer you to the state approved re-education facilities. All in the name of affordable health care.

If this does not make you nervous, then you are just not paying attention. 2014 will literally be a red letter year for us. If the Republicans fail to get the White House, and also fail to win control of the senate, then this law will stand and the machine will be firmly cemented in place, where nothing but it's own weight or a revolution to alter its course.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hero of the Week: 11-16-13

My Hero of the Week is this lady:

(Disclaimer - I could not find any official photos of her, but I did find this picture on Facebook from someone with the same name in the same city and would like to think it is her)

Judge Maria Giraudi

This lady decided to impound Justin Beiber's production gear as he was trying to leave Argentina after screwing over his fans, having a bodyguard beat up a photographer, trashing a hotel room and stiffing the hotel for the bill, and generally acting like a first class ass. To be honest, I haven't even tried to follow what this, ahem, poor excuse for a human being has been up to as I don't care for his music or his attitude, so I would have not noticed this interesting tidbit except for two things. First, I remembered his Charlie Sheen like early exit from a concert - twice - complaining of sickness. Then, I also remembered seeing this photo of him spitting on his fans. 

Way to go Judge! Too bad she didn't order him held for trial, but I understand that might have been hard to justify on the world stage. Maybe Justin can hook up with Miley Cyrus and commiserate how unfair life is to pompous celebrities. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

What Obamacare Means To Me

I was going to the White House website to look over what Obama said about the 'fix' for all the people that were getting dropped from coverage, when I ran into the above 'whiteboard' video. I thought it was too good, given the disintegration of Obamacare and the administration's limp wristed fix not to take a look. here's my take on what I saw with screen shots of the video.

Hi, my name is Pat. The fact that this ad picked an androgynous women dressed in man’s clothing should probably tell you something about who wears the pants in the executive branch. Of course, as drawn, you can probably see a bit of a beard there, so maybe I’m actually a man with indeterminate bulges where breast would be, so I’ll just leave you guessing about that for a while, ok?

On to talking about heath care insurance then. 

As you can see, I do have giant man hands, capable of holding a giant health insurance card with MY NAME on it. It’s my private health insurance. Obama has promised me that no one can take that away from me – unless the health care plan is not one of the 2% of health care plans that have everything that the ACA stipulates, but we’ll get into that in a minute. Notice that my beard has grown a little and there’s a bulge where my man parts might be? Got you wondering, no?

When I go to the doctor’s office I get all this stuff done to me. For free! The ACA says that health insurance companies can no longer charge a fee or co-pay for these services. Of course, it doesn't say that they can’t jack up the amount they charge for premiums.

Here are some actual women. Notice the progression in age here. After you get out of college you grow bigger boobs, and get taller, and wear heels. Then by the time you reach 50 you shrink, get a big butt, and wear hideous hooped earrings. Then when you reach 64 the big butt is gone, but so are the heels and the boobs. Worse yet, you carry a handbag which may either be a small dog carrier or a flute. The important thing is to watch out for those three big blocks, because if you have the poor taste to live after 64, that big arrow and the death panels means you are going to get thrown off a cliff somewhere. But don’t worry – you’ll have health insurance!

Now we get to the good part for androgynous people of uncertain sexuality: sticking it to the fat cats! Turns out this great new law says that if the insurance company has too much overhead, like big salaries, fancy red cars, or buildings with more than three stories, then they have to send you a ‘rebate’ check with all their extra money. Well, actually, not to you, but to whoever pays for your health insurance. That doesn't actually mean that you will get any money, because that’s not in the law. Most of the money rebated has gone to the employers, who get to spend it on anything they like, like shiny red cars or buildings taller than three stories. 

Just for fun I did a Google search for ‘Some Insurance Company” and “Private Insurance Company”. Guess what? Neither of those actually exists! I think that’s a fake check there too. I mean really, what kind of real fat cat signs a check with a flower at the end? And look at the date – SEPTEMBER 200. I've heard of post dating checks, but never pre-dating a check by 1813 years.

Oh, one other small note. If you don’t think the insurance companies are applying accounting measures so their ‘overhead’ is less than 20%, then you just don’t understand the way business works. Oh, the fat cats wills still get their big salaries and shiny red cars; it just won't show up as ‘overhead’. It’s an accounting trick that until now has been unnecessary but perfectly legal. It actually means beaucoup accounting overtime. That’s right – the bean counters just get richer. 

Ah – finally some people other than androgynous white women. We have an androgynous kid with a teddy bear and fraternal twins apparently celebrating their 22nd birthday. I am thinking the kid looks very happy. It might have something to do with whatever he is getting in an IV there. Is this what Obamacare is all about? Making kids of indeterminate sex wear dresses and shoot up happy juice? It obviously isn't very good for him as he had an accident and there is a shocking pool of blue stuff under the table. A brave new world indeed!

Now the twins here are also a bit of a puzzle. They are both apparently looking at something in guy’s lap. He looks real happy about it, but she seems less than thrilled. I am thinking there might be a just a little bit of penis envy there.

Now as to the claim to women being charged more than a man one has to wonder why? What is it about a pre-menopausal woman that makes then different than a man of the same age? Is it the length of their hair? As noted in the above picture, women in their 20’s grow taller and have bigger boobs… perhaps it’s that. I for one welcome this change that brings sense to this absurd discrepancy in health insurance charges for no discernible reason.

As noted in this picture, with your old insurance, you had to read a lot of stuff on reams of paper, use a really old keyboard, and drink lots of coffee just to make sense of your coverage.

Under the new system, you still have to drink coffee and use an old keyboard, but the rotten insurance companies will bind it up in a neat little book with a ‘plain language’ (i.e. not necessarily plain-English) summary. Now if you have an unusual circumstance where you have to determine if you are covered, say your kid gets thrown headfirst by a horse into a fence and has to have a medical airlift to a hospital with head trauma experts by a private helicopter company and you have to figure out if that helicopter ride is covered by insurance, you will still have to read through all that fine print. However, a summary page is a really necessary thing to regulate. Way to go ACA!

Ah – finally, a clearly male white guy apparently in his mid thirties. He’s asking what happens if he doesn’t have insurance. I am guessing that’s because he still lives in his parents basement and spends all his time drinking and playing softball with all his slacker white buddies, but never mind. He deserves to have insurance, even though his pants bulge is noticeably smaller than androgynous female’s.

See, apparently there’s this great new website called the ‘Health Care Marketplace’ where this guy can get some really cheap insurance. How cheap do you ask?

This cheap! 60% of white guys like this wearing casual long sleeve shirts stylishly pushed up on the arms will get their choice of a plans, and one of them might be less than $100 a month! Whoops! This was not exactly true when they made this video and the low sign up rates due to ‘sticker shock’ in states with functioning exchanges indicate that it really is just not what is happening.

So how does cool slacker white guy get this (fake) cool cheap insurance? Here’s how:

Let’s see we have:
  • In person: From that picture cool slacker white guy will have to hold hands with a rich fat cat wearing cuff links. I am thinking cool slacker white guy wouldn't want to have close contact with real working America, even though in reality that could be anyone, from felons to state senators. Here's something I noticed. The state senator in that link could be the model for androgynous women:

  • By Mail: Yeah - trust an anonymous bureaucrat and the post office to pick out a cheap plan and sign you up. Sounds like a great plan. After all, it's only your life, what could go wrong?

  • By Phone: Like many other's I thought of this guy when I heard you could sign up for Obamacare by phone:

  • Online: Yeah - we all know how that's going.

So, that’s the end of the video. Let’s all get together for a group photo. Is everyone here? Good. Smile everybody! <click>

Well that didn't turn out very well! The twin guy changed his hair color and is now looking at twin girl’s breast. Twin girl is also smiling at something behind his back. I am thinking there is a midget hiding back there about to ax murder her evil male twin. The kid is done with his IV, but still wearing a dress. The androgynous woman is apparently still pretty happy, but now has a smaller package and (thank god!) has shaved. Cool slacker white guy has a larger package now, which is apparently an asset, as both the 25 and 64 year old women are checking him out and smiling. Altogether a typical group of Americans wouldn't you say?

Um, whoops! Wait a minute! I am not seeing any clearly ethnic people here. Who approved this video? Al Sharpton, call your office! The White House is (once again) perpetrating racial stereotypes. This has to stop NOW!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Open Season

With Obamacare literally disintegrating before our very eyes I thought i'd take a look at what my local congresscritter was up to. Yeah - he's this guy:

So I wondered over to his official congressional web site to see what's up. Amazingly, unlike the site, the congressman's web site seemed to be up and running just fine. Maybe he should lend some of his programmers to Sillybus.

Looking over all of his back patting accolades (are these guys ever embarrassed by patting themselves on the back?), I saw this:

Connolly to Hold Health Plan Open Season Workshop

I was amazed! Here was a Democrat congressman actually trying to do something about the horrible bill that he was so instrumental in getting passed. Then I read on:

for Federal Employees/Retirees on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Fairfax

It's not about the heath insurance plans we have all been saddled with. No, he is helping them navigate signing up for their federal employee health care plans. Those are the ones that he and his buddies got an exception for federal employees. It's because he cares:
“Federal employees, retirees, and annuitants who have questions or want to make sure that they have the coverage they need are welcome to attend my Open Season Workshop on November 23rd ” he said.
I am thinking that for the rest of us, the message is pretty much go the (or hell, whichever is easiest). I'm thinking I like the smell of sulfur and the screams of the damned.

So let's see what is supposed to happen at this "Workshop"? How nice! He posted an agenda. This should be fun.
10:00 am – 11:00 am - Panel Discussion featuring experts on FEHB programs and available health plan options, including FEHBP expert Walt Francis, author of CHECKBOOKS’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees Hosted in the Government Center Board Room 
Walter Francis? Who is that and why is he showing up for this meeting? I looked him up, and found this:
is an economist and policy analyst, expert in the analysis and evaluation of public programs. He developed regulatory, budgetary, and legislative reforms for many policies and programs, while working at the Office of Management and Budget and in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
The hubris is running knee deep here. A local congressman is holding a special workshop to help federal employees get the most out of the system and brings in a guest speaker who was instrumental in writing regulations for the rest of us to help him out. Priceless!

What else is going on at this little get together?

11:00 am – 1:00 pm - Representatives of various FEHB health plans and Medicare will be available to provide information and answer questions concerning plan offerings for 2014. Hosted in adjoining conference rooms
I see - it's a sort of trade show for the heath care providers vying for the lucrative federal employee signup. I wonder if they are giving out some sweet trade show swag? Do heath insurance trade shows have booth babes?

11:00 am – 1:00 pm -  Flu Shots will be provided by the Fairfax County Health Department.  The cost is $25 and Medicare Part B is accepted
Flu shots! Sweet! Delivered to federal employees by county health workers. I am sensing a disturbance in the force here. It's like thousands of Virginia residents all cried out out  at once and then were silenced.

No - I was wrong. It was just a plane full of fat cats landing at National (Reagan National!). Nothing to see here, move along, move along..

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Election Shenanigans - Waiter There's a Fly In My Soup!

As I previously indicated, I decided to take a look at the numbers that came out of the election to try to see what happened. My supposition is that by comparing the detailed election results for my county from this year’s gubernatorial election against the results from the 2009 election, I should be able to learn something about what is happening to GOP voters or find some indicators about any nefarious goings on. The following is an accounting of my journey through these numbers. If you are so inclined, grab a cup of coffee, and join me in what will be for most a boring adventure in numberland.


There are few sources that I pulled from for this analysis. For election results from the 2013 election I got the spreadsheet export from the Board of elections site here.

Similarly, for the numbers for the 2009 election, I pulled from the Prince William County site, which had the results in a much less helpful format of a PDF file. This meant that I had to painstakingly hand enter the numbers from the PDF file into my own spreadsheet. I will freely admit that though I was careful, there may be one or two errors that resulted in that process. Here is the source PDF.

For population numbers I pulled data from the census sites, here and here.


In preparing the data I had to make some decision. As a rapidly growing county in the suburbs of Washington, DC, Prince William County has had its voting districts big and small redrawn a bit during this time period between 2009 and 2013. This makes it sometimes exceedingly difficult to do a precinct by precinct comparison. To account for that, I compared each precinct and matched up names. I discarded results from precincts that either was eliminated or was created for the 2013 election. I know that every vote counts, but this is a statistical analysis and I had to base it on something comparable. I ended up with 63 precincts. For this analysis I also did not analyze the absentee ballots as they are indeterminate from a geographical viewpoint. If I have time I will come back to them.

Population vs. Voting
The only definitive numbers from the census that I could find indicated that there were 402,002 persons living in the county in 2009 and 430,289 in 2012. That’s a 6.57% change in two years, or 3.29% annual change. Applying this percentage across the years you get the following:

With that in mind, let’s look at some overall voting numbers. In 2009 there were 75123 votes cast for Governor. That means that only 19.32% of the county population participated in the election. In 2012 there were 97060 votes cast for Governor. Applying the same formulas, that means that population participation jumped to 21.98%, or a 2.65% increase in participation. This all looks perfectly reasonable right? Given the fascination with the first black president, a modest increase in participation of 2.65% seems reasonable, right. Well, don’t eat that cookie quite yet. Let’s look at it just a little differently. The population increased at an annual rate of 3.29% right? Thus, from 2009 to 2013 that would be a total increase of 13.16%. So if voter rates were to follow population trends, then you would expect a similar increase in total number of voters. Given the number of votes for both years above, the actual number is 13.74%. Since that is less than a 1% variance, it appears reasonable. No Flies in my soup yet, though I may see a very tiny hair in there.

Of course just looking at total number of voters is not enough because elections are about people making choices and a winner being chosen. An important, nay the important question is how they voted and how did that change since the last election. Taking overall numbers from the fore mentioned 63 precincts, in 2009, you have:
  • McDonald (R) 58.38%
  •  Deeds        (D) 41.62%

 In 2013 we have:
  • Cuccinelli (R) 43.43% 
  • Macaliffe (D) 52.37%

That’s a decrease of 14.33% in republican votes and an increase of democrats by 10.12%, or a net change in votes for democrats by a whopping 25.70%. Now let’s consider those population numbers again. Even if every single new participating voter that moved into the county was a democrat, this swing is twice as much as you would expect. There is something very odd going on here that warrants a deeper look at the specific numbers. Ah, I think I see a tip of the a fly wing down in there hiding behind a meatball...

Here’s a more detailed plot of all the precincts net change:

Now admittedly that really isn’t unexpected, given that you already know that the overall net loss for Republicans was 25%.

Let’s take a look at a ‘typical’ precinct. Here are the 2009 and 2013 results for the Chinn precinct:

Rep %
Dem %
Rep %
Dem %
Note that total for that precinct only increased by 187 votes, or 22%. While the Republicans had a decrease in 86 voters, the Democrats saw an increase of 231 voters. Now let’s assume for a minute that half of the missing Republicans were disaffected voters that decided to cast a ‘pox on both your houses’ vote and account for all of the Independent voters, and the other half got sick, had to work, etc. That still doesn’t explain how in a precinct where only 1001 votes were cast, the Democrats managed to generate 231 new votes or an increase of 28%. Now if you are going to say these are Obamabots, remember that the 2009 election was just one year after Obama first won the presidency. Those voters were already there! The question then is where did all these new voters come from?

Let’s take a closer look at this precinct. Here’s the official map of that precinct:

I am very familiar with it as I go to that library all the time. All those roads at the top of the region are a townhouse community where the majority of the population for the precinct lives. The bottom 2/3rds of the precinct are older established homes. So if there were a turnover in the community, I would expect most of it would come from the townhouse community.
I did a quick search of ‘homes recently sold’ and came up with 42 homes sold in that area within the last 6 months, 30 of which appear to be in that precinct. So if that held true for the last 4 years, that would be about 240 sales, and assuming that all of the new residents had at least one voter, and each of those voters were Democrats, then that would account for the additional votes. Let’s just see how improbable that is. First, consider where I noted above that about 20% of the population in the county voted. Assuming a two person household for the above 240 houses, that’s:
480 * 20% = 96 voters
Now it really isn’t reasonable to assume all of those new voters are Democrats, so lest use the election results to divvy them up and we come up with:
96 * 58% = 55 Democrat voters 
That seems a really far cry from 231 voters needed to satisfy what is being reported. The other assumption is that rate of sales has remained constant throughout the last four years. Anyone who has thought about selling a house in this area can tell you that is just not true. Along with the rest of the country, sales (and prices) have been very depressed over the last four years and have only picked up in the last year. Yep! I can see it now... A big old nasty horse fly, swimming in my soup; and I think he's doing a backstroke!

I am not a statistician, but from what I can see here, these numbers look extremely suspicious. It appears that voters have appeared out of thin air to pull a lever for the Democrats. I welcome constructive analysis, based on actual numbers and logic to explain where these voters came from, because I don’t see it. If I get time, I intend to winnow down further into this, perhaps taking a specific precinct, voter list, and knocking on doors to see if the people who are recorded as voting actually did. In the meantime, I welcome all constructive, logical, analysis of what I have presented here.