Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coffee is good for the health

Of course; I can taste it. Coffee has several health benefits. Lower risks of bad things including Type II diabetes and liver failure. And antioxidants and some vitamins.

Authority Nutrition

Cash for clunkers created jobs at cost of $1.4 million each

President Obama's "cash for clunkers" program created few jobs and those cost $1.4 million each. And those were not permanent jobs, only for one year. Obama and VP Biden claimed it would create 70,000 jobs. It created 3,676 of those one-year jobs. Jobs could have been bought by other methods much, much cheaper. Duh.

Did it increase car sales? No. IT just moved them forward (earlier). Sales did go higher, then cratered when the program ended.

It helped higher-income people at the cost of lower-income people. After all, what happens to not-new cars? They are bought by people who need transportation who can't afford new. But Cash for Clunkers caused 700,000 cars to be junked. Some really were clunkers, but many could have served for another decade.

"But it was intended to improve the environment by getting gas guzzlers and polluters off the roads," you say. It did reduce gasoline consumption - by about 3 days worth for the country. Wow. And carbon emissions? See Detroit News:

The study found the costs for reducing carbon emissions was similar to the $3,400 hybrid tax credit, but more cost effective than the electric vehicle tax credit, excise tax credit for ethanol or renewable fuel standard.

“The cost per ton of carbon dioxide reduced from the program suggests that the program was not a cost effective way to reduce emissions,” the study found.

UK NHS £11B health-care computer system fails

If you want to simplify health care by going to a single payer - the government - then learn from the UK. The NHS - National Health System - is their health care for everyone, except for private care purchased by wealthier people. It must be nice to have everything run by one outfit = no difficult decisions for everyone. How is it working?

NHS decided to have one computer system for everyone. Ending having some records here and some there. They undertook an £11 billion development effort, which is about $20 billion. After ten years they gave up. They failed.

Independent UK

A plan to create the world's largest single civilian computer system linking all parts of the National Health Service is to be abandoned by the Government after running up billions of pounds in bills. Ministers are expected to announce next month that they are scrapping a central part of the much-delayed and hugely controversial 10-year National Programme for IT.

Instead, local health trusts and hospitals will be allowed to develop or buy individual computer systems to suit their needs – with a much smaller central server capable of "interrogating" them to provide centralised information on patient care. News of the Government's plans comes as a damning report from a cross-party committee of MPs concludes that the £11.4bn programme had proved "beyond the capacity of the Department of Health to deliver".

The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that, while the intention of creating a centralised database of electronic patient records was a "worthwhile aim", a huge amount of money had been wasted. ...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Warnings given re Fannie and Freddie before housing meltdown

Warnings were given against the federal giants Fannie and Freddie before the 2008 meltdown. They were allowed to do dangerous things. Congress was warned that they were too large - too much risk in two "companies," acting dangerously and ultimately didn't have enough capital for their bets. Warned repeatedly. Then it all blew up and there were part of the giant mess.

But Congress didn't listen. Rep. Barnie Frank and Senator Chris Dodd ignored the warnings by Sec. of Treasury John Snow in 2003, Chairman of Council of Economic Advisers Greg Mankiw in 2003 and Ben Bernanke in 2005. And more…

Indeed, Rep. Maxine Water and Rep Gregory Meeks chewed Snow out for wasting their time:

I have sat through nearly a dozen hearings where, frankly, we were trying to fix something that wasn't broke. [sic] ...These GSEs have more than adequate capital for the business they are in: providing affordable housing. As I mentioned, we should not be making radical or fundamental change... If there is anything to fix or improve, it is the [regulators].

Rep. Gregory Meeks, Democrat of New York, agreed with Rep. Waters and rabidly stated,

...I have to go to another hearing, I will try to be just real quick... I am just pissed off at [the regulator] because if it wasn't for you I don't think that we would be here in the first place. ...we are faced with is maybe some individuals who wanted to do away with GSEs in the first place, you have given them an excuse to try to have this forum [to change the] mission of what the GSEs had, which they have done a tremendous job... There has been nothing that was indicated is wrong, you know, with Fannie Mae... The question that then presents is the competence that your agency has with reference to deciding and regulating these GSEs.

That's just one; there were many more warnings. But, hey, all those people worked for President Bush.

Aaron Rodriguez shows the timeline at Conservative Hispanic.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Three cheers for Chuck from Friday Harbor

Chuck had an ambitious goal. And made it.

American Thinker

Every so often an ordinary man does something extraordinary that delights the rest of us, and keeps us smiling as we go about our own mundane business. Let me tell you the story of Chuck Bailey's bike ride:

Chuck is a semi-retired gentleman who works summers at our local bike shop here in Friday Harbor, which is in the San Juan Islands north of Seattle...

I leave the happy ending at the link.

Obamacare has failed too soon

Obama said multiple times that he wanted single-payer healthcare. That is, the government runs everything. Some think that Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act was to set up coverage through private insurance companies that would fail. Then people would say "The private approach failed. Let the government have control." You see? It was designed to fail!! This author, James Edwards, thinks so. But Obamacare failed too soon.

Washington Times

President Obama’s legacy may include a stake in the heart of a cherished dream of the progressive left: complete government control of healthcare in America.

Obama has always wanted a single-payer, government-run healthcare system, and he set out a complicated but achievable path to get to that goal through Obamacare. The eventual failure of Obamacare would set the stage for single-payer healthcare.

Unfortunately for him, he designed Obamacare to fail in the wrong ways at the wrong times, making it harder, not easier to achieve his goal of completely socialized healthcare.

If Obamacare dies an early and spectacular failure, it will be at least another 100 years before the American people will consider government-run healthcare again. This is why Obama will fight tooth and nail to impose this lead balloon on the American people.

Obama’s progressive “fundamental transformation” of this country was to revolve around a single-payer, government run and controlled healthcare system. He realized that he would have to sell a Trojan Horse to the American people; America would not stand for an immediate and open takeover of 1/6th of the economy. He therefore planned to gradually ruin and demonize the private insurance industry until it was fully destroyed, leaving full government control as the only option.

Obama, speaking to the Illinois AFL-CIO, on June 30, 2003 said, “I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program.”

Read the whole thing.

"They say it will be working by the end of November," you say. If they had done the redesign and had the coding finished today, one month might be enough time to test it and get it to handle unforeseen combination, etc. Might be. But it's likely they would need even more time JUST TO TEST IT.

Stopping Obamacare - Humor

Now we have proof that Obama is in trouble. Even NPR is making jokes on Him.

"The Republicans spent weeks trying to stop Obamacare. They wasted a lot of energy. All they had to do was wait for Obama to try to start it."

"During his Rose Garden defense of Obamacare this week Obama gave an 800 number to call. Then when he gave the number a second time he threw in an offer for Ginsu knives and Chop Magic."

I heard this on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

Friday, October 25, 2013

White House promised no sObamacare problems

The White House was excitedly previewing the Obamacare website in the days before it went (supposed-to-be) live on October 1.

They had inside knowledge. They were showing that it was elegantly designed, simple to use and ready for the crushing masses.

NY Times

Now they say they had no idea there might be a problem. Why not? Maybe because they didn't ask?

Quietest Atlantic hurricane season in 45 years

2013 is the quietest Atlantic hurricane season in 45 years. What did scientist Albert Gore, Jr. predict?

This year only two hurricanes formed and both were category 1, the lowest of five degrees of severeness. And no hurricane made landfall in the US. Though Andrea hit the Florida panhandle, but it was only a tropical storm at the time. (Yes, I know a tropical storm is powerful, but it's not a hurricane.)

Yahoo News Canada

It has also been a year marked by the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982 and the first since 1994 without the formation of a major hurricane. [Major is category 3.]

In terms of so-called "Accumulated Cyclone Energy" (ACE), a common measure of the total destructive power of a season's storms, 2013 ranks among the 10 weakest since the dawn of the satellite era in the mid-1960s, said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

"The ACE so far in 2013 is 33 percent of normal," he said.

Al Gore warned us in his so-called documentary An Inconvenient Truth

Now I'm going to show you, recently released, the actual ocean temperature. Of course when the oceans get warmer, that causes stronger storms. We have seen in the last couple of years, a lot of big hurricanes. Hurricanes Jean, Francis and Ivan were among them. In the same year we had that string of big hurricanes; we also set an all time record for tornadoes in the United States. Japan again didn't get as much attention in our news media, but they set an all time record for typhoons. The previous record was seven. Here are all ten of the ones they had in 2004.

The science textbooks that have to be re-written because they say it is impossible to have a hurricane in the South Atlantic. It was the same year that the first one that ever hit Brazil. The summer of 2005 is one for the books. The first one was Emily that socked into Yucatan. Then Hurricane Dennis came along and it did a lot of damage, including to the oil industry. This is the largest oil platform in the world after Dennis went through. This one was driven into the bridge at Mobile.

And then of course came Katrina. It is worth remembering that when it hit Florida it was a Category 1, but it killed a lot of people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. And then, what happened? Before it hit New Orleans, it went over warmer water. As the water temperature increases, the wind velocity increases and the moisture content increases. And you'll see Hurricane Katrina form over Florida. And then as it comes into the Gulf over warm water it becomes stronger and stronger and stronger. Look at that Hurricane's eye. And of course the consequences were so horrendous; there are no words to describe it. . . .

[Page 10 of this unofficial transcript TeacherWeb (pdf)]

Paging Al Gore. Paging Al Gore. I have a question.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tom Foley's Leadership of the US House

Long-time Washinton Congressman and Speaker of the House of Representatives Tom Foley died this week. He led the House for six years and led his Democrats in the House to thorough defeat in the election of 1994. He even lost his own seat when the voters in Spokane and rural eastern Washington told him to come home. And he did, but they didn't see him. He continued to live in Washington, DC, his home.

This is the place to say he is remembered for working across the aisle, etc. But I have no memory of him being other than a Democrat partisan who talked conservative in his Eastern-Washington district and was an establishment power player inside the beltway. For instance:

He sued the voters of Washington!!

And he expected them to reelect him? The voters of the state passed Initiative 573 to limit Congressmen to 6 consecutive years in the House and Senators to 12 years. Someone had to put us in our places. So Foley bravely sued us. Christian Science Monitor - Ballot Pedia

He led the defense against investigation of the House Post Office. Examiner

The Capitol Police investigated embezzlement charges in the House of Representatives Post Office. Originally, they targeted a solitary employee, but the investigation quickly expanded to include many workers. The Democratic leadership quickly moved to stop the investigation. Clearly, they feared what the police would discover.

The U.S. Post Office took up the case and issued a scathing report. Speaker of the House Tom Foley did his best to censor the report, but elements leaked to the press. In 1992, news of embezzlement and money laundering trickled out to the public. Congress launched an investigation designed to whitewash the affair. In July, the Democratic report claimed an end to the scandal. The Republican report disagreed and raised serious questions about the House Post Office.

What Post Office scandal? Say you were a Congressman and got a check for $1,000 from a lobbyist. You had use for that money; you didn't want to put it into your reelection account. So you would take it to the House Post Office and buy a sheet of stamps for $5.00 and get $995.00 in cash back. Nice, eh? Illegal? Yes. One of the House's most powerful Democrats, Dan Rostenkowski, went to jail for his involvement.

The House Banking Scandal

There was a similar privilege in the House's own bank. If Congressman XYZ overdrew his checking account they let it slide. Say he overdrew it by $10,000. The bank could wait until pay day, or the next pay day or the one after that. I don't find any fingerprints of House Speaker Foley on a cover up of this. But he was the leader of the entire House; it was on his watch. Examiner

That's the Tom Foley I remember.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Challenged kids learn

Kids are learning when they are challenged. In this example the problem is open-ended. After what turns out to be the first round even the best performers can improve. And those farther down have the chance to improve.

Joanne Jacobs

Friday, October 11, 2013

SeaTac area unions don't pay the $15 they are demanding

The city of SeaTac will be voting to establish $15 per hour as the minimum wage.

If $15 per hour should be the minimum wage why don't local unions pay their employees $15? They don't according to Generic Freedom Foundation

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

There is a way for successful policy change

There is a way to pass and implement successful policy change. Yes, changes that can be implemented.

Nobel economist James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock studied public decision processes - all of them - and found successes and called their method Public Choice Theroy. (PCT) In PCT policy changes are made when there is there is unanimous consent. Unanimous? That's impossible? No. During the process you ask the would-be losers what they need. And the end decision gives them something to offset what they would have lost. So everyone is satisfied.

If you need to build a road you give generous relocation to those displaced and lessen the impact on the closest neighbors by fences or plantings.

But how could President Obama use this? By listening to his elected opponents - the House and the Senate Republicans. Obama listen? He is the master of "my way or the highway" and endless straw men. [A straw man is exaggerating your opponent's case beyond recognition, then saying "I disagree with those who say we should push all grandmothers over high cliffs." Then he shows he is much more reasonable than his hyper-fiction opponents.]

For absolute contrast look at how Obamacare was passed. Written in back rooms. With many, many blanks: "The Secretary of HHS will decide." Then after the House passed the 2700-page mess, they intended to correct it in the Senate. "What's the rush?: But Sen. Kennedy died and was replaced by Sen. Scott Brown, as Republican. So they couldn't fix the mess they knew they had created. But after passage they had to line up and say it was what they wanted.

Where were the Republicans? The Senate had a bipartisan study group, but nothing the Republicans suggested was accepted. And former Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn't allow normal hearings through the committee process.

Public Choice Theory works. How about it, Mr. President?

Public Choice Theory was first explained in the book The Calculus of Consent by Buchanan and Tullock in 1962. Wikipedia The book is online at Library of Economics and Liberty

Via Christoper Chantrill at American Thinker.

Monday, October 07, 2013

President Spiteful Obama

We understand President Obama is using the "Washington Monument" tactic. You do the cuts to affect the maximum number of people. But He is carrying it farther than seen before in my lifetime.

Congress's blame is limited to not passing a budget. Only part of that, because the president has to accept the budget. But with the funds available it is the executive branch that sets the priorities. Obama's appointees decide. The Obama administration decided to block the highway shoulders by Mt Rushmore, so one cannot pull over and look. Sioux Falls News And Obama forced Mt Vernon (Washington's home) to close despite being totally privately funded. You see, the parking lot is federally owned, so the National Park Service was directed to lock it. The Inquisitor What does it cost to allow Mt Vernon to use the parking lot? Doesn't matter. This is for spite.

But… missing kids? Missing kids? Obama closed the Amber Alert website. Washington Examiner

Saturday, October 05, 2013

How Apple innovates

This video about how Apple innovates - by waiting and watching, by buying, and … - is interesting enough that I am providing a free ad for an online MBA outfit.

Online MBA