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.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Happy Veteran's Day to my fellow veterans! I was fortunate in that I served during the cold war and never got shot at. There are uncounted many more of my fellow veterans who served in much tougher times, and my hat is off to them. That we continue to have the finest Army in the world is a testament  to the men and women of this nation that continue to volunteer and give their professionalism and bravery to grateful nation. Here's hoping we as a nation can somehow continue to be worthy of their sacrifice.

Here's a picture of me getting my corporal stripes (yeah - they promoted fast in the Intel ranks) I can't believe I was ever that young! Then again, I am old enough to have spent some time being trucked around in the back of a M35 too (Deuce-N-Half - pictured above). My Sargent stripes got pinned on a bit later...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hero of the Week: 11-10-13

My hero of the week is this guy:

Yeah - he's kinda hard to make out in that picture, and I have written about his daddy here before. Let's see, what can I tell you about him. Well, after leaving the farm, he joined the Navy and did a four year tour. He tried wildcatting for a while, then got drafted into the cold war and worked at moving atoms around in Tennessee. Then he moved to Memphis, raised four wild boys and a crazy girl to be mostly fine upstanding citizens. Along the way he somehow became an active private pilot, ham radio nut, inventor, and puppet master. He's a grandfather many times over, but not yet a great grandfather. Happy birthday Dad, you will always be my hero.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Election Day

UPDATE BELOW --- READ THAT TOO!!! <thanks - the management>

Related Post-Election Analysis is Here

Since I am a resident of Virginia, which is inexplicably once again a 'battleground' state, I feel compelled to offer commentary on this election day. I should disclose that, knowing that I would by unavailable today, I performed my civic duty Saturday morning at the county headquarters building, thanks to the oddly named "in person absentee voting". There were no lines, and it took me all of 10 minutes. Most of that time was taken up by removing my bike from the rack on the back of the Jeep so I could get to the trunk where I keep my spare set of reading glasses which were required to fill out the absentee voter form once I got to the voting area.

There were four very bored looking poll workers and a supervisor, who seemed way too happy to see me. I got the feeling they had been sitting there for hours with nothing to do. While I was glad that I could zip in and zip out, I was a little dismayed that more of my fellow citizens weren't taking advantage of the easier voting. This was in sharp contrast to what I saw last election where the line at this very same absentee voting location stretched all through the lobby and out the door. On the other hand, I remember that a lot of those people looked like Obamabots, so perhaps it's a good thing they weren't there.

Now looked at from and old white bigot's viewpoint, the main race for Governor here should not be much of a contest. On one hand you have Cuccinelli, who, as Attorney General has solid conservative credentials on fighting Obamacare, immigration reform, and upholding the rights of of the state in the face of Federal overreach. On the other hand you have McAuliffe, a Cintonista transplant who is corrupt as the day is long and an admitted gun grabbing democrat. A clear choice, that most right thinking Virginians won't have to think very hard or long about.

And that really is the question here. How many right thinking Virginians are left, and will their votes count. Ok, that is really two questions, so i'll take them one at a time. First how many right thinking Virginians are left in the state. Now if you look at official demographics, you would say that the proportion of right leaning voters in the state really hasn't changed substantially from when conservatives swept into office back in 2010. However, with the lax enforcement of immigration laws, the population of illegal immigrants has virtually exploded in Virginia. When you factor this explosion against the federal enforced relaxing of voter ID requirements, you have to expect that a great number of those folks will do what they can to ensure a illegal immigrant opponent does not get the governor's seat. My proof? While, as noted above, the absentee voter location at the county complex located out by the semi-pro ball field was virtually deserted Saturday, the same cannot be said for the voting location at the county office building located in downtown Manassas, just a few blocks from the largest poor Hispanic enclave in northern Virginia. Notional, I know, but something worth thinking about.

Yes, I did say two questions there. The second and more infuriating issue is whether or not their votes will be counted. I have done some more than cursory investigation into the electronic voting process in Virginia, and there is much to be concerned about. The foreign origin of the voting machines, coupled with a lack of adequate testing and verification of the actual voting system, compounded by electronic security measures at the poll locations that are laughable, all indicates to me that if this system is not already compromised it would be truly miraculous. You want anecdotal evidence? I give you the fore mentioned polling location I visited at the county complex.

The location itself is in an exterior office, on a ground floor, facing the parking area. While the shades are down, a mere ten feet from the voting machines is a exterior glass window where anyone can walk up to and set up an attack laptop. But that would be largely unnecessary if an attacker managed to gain access to the voting room itself under the guise of some other legitimate purpose, like say voting, since the supervisor running the polling location did not ask to see my phone / android / etc. or instruct me to turn it off. Thus, getting a dork device within close physical proximity of a voting machine is virtually assured. This is a violation of very basic electronic security practices. Even if this were not a problem, then consider that the poll workers themselves were not practicing the most basic of electronic security measures. I observed that every one of them had a cell phone of an android / iphone class, though admittedly I could not tell if they were on. I did observe that one worker had a fully powered tablet inartfully hidden under the table where the machines used for poll check were located. While she may have just been playing "candy crush" or "angry birds", she just as easily have been dorking the PCs used to verify legitimate voters or the results of their votes. Finally, there were communication lines running from the check in tables to the voting machines themselves. While this may have been necessary, it would seem to me that in a secure system, the voting machines should be unconnected to any machine while actively used in the voting process.

How likely is it that voting in Virginia has been compromised? I intend to let the numbers speak for themselves. When the day is done, and all the votes are counted, I will do a numerical analysis of the numbers and publish the results here. Then I will let you judge for yourselves. I dearly hope that I am wrong. Stay tuned...

Well that went about how I expected. Any one else get that deja-vu feeling like we had in 2012? Yeah - me too. For those of you that weren't around for the previous incantation of this blog, you are in for either the most boring post in the world, or the most fascinating one, depending on your perspective and tolerance for painful math stuff. Due to the complexity (and since I have a real job where I have to make money and stuff), it will take a few days for me to pull it together. Here's a little preview...

Suppose for a minute that a thief breaks into your house while you are off on vacation. You know that they were there because, well, your stuff is all gone. The bad news is that there is not really much you can do now, but tally up your losses and file file your insurance claims. That being said, you would like to catch the bastards who did it - after all they took your stuff!

Now suppose this election is kinda like that. You know there was a break in because there is a corrupt monkey moving into the Governor's mansion. The question is was there a crime here, or are your fellow citizens really as stupid as they appear on paper? Well stealing an election is not like some guy jimmying a window and grabbing the silverware. The things they are stealing are votes. In the final analysis, votes are really just numbers. The neat thing about numbers is it's really hard to manipulate them without leaving a fingerprint of the operation you used to transform them to your will.

So, my thesis here is this. If some nefarious entity employed some devious means to thwart the will of the people of Virginia and manipulated the vote, then there should be fingerprints of that manipulation hiding in plain sight in the numbers. If those fingerprints are not there, then, as the title of the blog implies, I would have once again gone astray and wasted a few days of number crunching to no purpose other to discover that my fellow Virginians really are that stupid. Either way, I believe it is an exercise worth pursuing.

I am totally aware that if the results of my analysis reveals such fingerprints, then the end result will be no different. With the tiny influence of my blog, there really is not much I can do to change the system. I will cross that bridge if I get to it. So until then I invite you to relax and enjoy life. Do something that takes you away from the internet and politics for a while. Then when your ready, come back here and read through what I come up with. After that, we'll figure out what to do about it together.

Monday, November 4, 2013

About those racist old white guys...

No, this is not about radio personalities or (shudder) Fox News. No, this is about those other racist white guys - in Greece.

I unfortunately count myself as one of those guys that got roped into watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I will admit that I don't remember much about the plot line, or even really who the actors or actresses were. If you really care you can go to the link above, and look it up. I don't really... There are three things I remember about that movie. The first and second have nothing to do with my point here, so of course I will write about them first.

As I remember it, there is a scene where the partriach is walking the family dog, and they see the full and magical moon. He looks up and cries 'la luna!'. It becomes something of a theme throughout the movie, that the crazy moon drives much of the love crazy actions throughout the movie. Every once in a while, when I see a full moon, I smile and think of that movie, that scene.

The second is a scene where the mother is asking the daughter if she loves the man she is about to marry. When the daughter yes the mother says something like, "too bad, he'll drive you crazy". That has always seemed about right to me, no matter what side of the fence you are on.

The third thing I remember about movie was the manic pride the father had for his mother country. He had filled his front yard with replicas of famous Greek statues, and festooned his yard with Greek flags. So to anyone who saw that movie, the existence of a political party in Greece that has fascist tendencies modeled on the 'master race' principles of the Third Reich is really not that much of a shock. What is surprising is that the whole Greek financial crisis matured to where it is today without a mention of any this in any press. But it got me to thinking, how did such a group come to be? What makes a cultural pride morph into a something nasty? Most importantly, what is the difference between them and say, any other group of old white guys that causes a different outcome?

My supposition here is that pride in race or culture is essentially what caused these types to go astray. So they question comes to mind, if it happened there, why didn't it happen here? After all, weren't all of our founding fathers essentially white guys? It's been a long time since I had American History, so, embarrassingly, I had to admit that I really didn't know that much about the ancestry of our founding fathers. In my defense, I doubt the founding father's ancestry was well covered in the social crucible that was the public school system for Memphis in the late 70s. I therefore decided to look it up. Just for fun, I thought i'd pass on what I found:

George Washington: Father: Augustine Washington, born in Westmoreland, VA in 1694. Grandfather: Lawrence Washington, militia captain and member of House of Burgess, born in Westmoreland, VA in 1659. Great Grandfather: John Washington, born in Pruleigh, Essex in 1633, owner of a estate in South Cave, East Yorkshire and emigrated in 1658.

John Adams: Father: John Adams Sr. - fifth generation descendant to Henry Adams who emigrated from Braintree, Essex in 1638.

Thomas Jefferson: Father: Peter Jefferson, a planter and surveyor. Possibly of Welsh descent but I was unable to find any definitive linkages on a cursory look.

James Madison Jr: Father: James Madison Sr, a tobacco planter that grew up on a plantation. His great grandfather was a sea captian, Issac Madison, who was born in London England in 1590.

Ben Franklin: One of twenty children of Josiah Franklin, a businessman from Ecton, Nothhamptonshire, England. His father was a blacksmith and a farmer there.

Thomas Paine: Son of Joseph Pain (later Paine), a Quaker, and mother Frances (an Anglican) <gasp - a mixed marriage>, who hailed from rural Norfolk, England.

Patrick Henry: Father: John Henry (not the railroad guy), immigrant from Abberdeenshire, Scotland.

Alexander Hamilton: Probably the most interesting heritage of the group of otherwise cookie cutter old white guys. He was born out of wedlock  to an otherwise married women of partial French Huguenot descent, Rachel Faucette in Charlestown, on the island of Nevis, which is the capitol island of the Leeward Islands. His father was a scoundrel named James Hamilton, the fourth son of a Scottish laird from Grange Ayrshire. There is a real romance novel in there somewhere...

To get back to my main point, even though all these guys were from differing backgrounds, but uniformly English and white, they didn't found this country on their background or heritage. No, they borrowed liberally from what they understood to be best way to run a country, and forged this country anew out of whole cloth woven from the threads of the writings from the greatest thinkers throughout the ages (some of whom might have been Greek). That's why bigotry and race pride will always be fringe and foreign to us, as long as we have the courage to keep our principles pure. It is only when we allow ourselves to be torn down by class and envy, do we lessen ourselves and become, well, like the Modern Greeks.