moldybluecheesecurds 2

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Enough airplane time to get to Hawaii, but I'm on my couch

Time spent near airplanes: 9 hours
Times boarding pass scanned: 4
Miles traveled: 3

Refills of McDonald's drink: 4 (or 5)
Diapers changed: 2


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why markets can't cure healthcare

From a Nobel economist: Paul Krugman

The only article worth reading re: Gates

The whole incident smacked of "24 hours news cycle," but if you must know something about the Henry Louis Gates stuff in the news, get it from this article: Hard Truths and the Teachable Moment

Just What is Socialized Medicine?

It's not Canada. Though not the main point of the article, it's a good point to deliver, from FiveThirtyEight:

Socialized medicine is Great Britain, where the government owns the hospitals and pays the doctors. Socialized insurance is "single payer," e.g. Canada, where the government is the insurer.

Obama's preferred plan is a public insurance option (one of many "payers"). We're not remotely socialized, though the evidence suggests we'd be better off if we were closer to it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Traders Profit With Computers Set at High Speed

I should create a whole category for "Wall Street strategies to make money by making nothing." From

The rise of high-frequency trading helps explain why activity on the nation’s stock exchanges has exploded. Average daily volume has soared by 164 percent since 2005, according to data from NYSE. Although precise figures are elusive, stock exchanges say that a handful of high-frequency traders now account for a more than half of all trades.

...The rise of high-frequency trading helps explain why activity on the nation’s stock exchanges has exploded. Average daily volume has soared by 164 percent since 2005, according to data from NYSE. Although precise figures are elusive, stock exchanges say that a handful of high-frequency traders now account for a more than half of all trades.

Figuring out how to trade faster than others is not adding to society's wealth, and it should be outlawed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Graphical humor

Of course, my favorite one involves the word "buttcrack." My son has no hope...
17 Relevant Charts and Graphs [Pics]

Hat tip to Aaron Gleeman

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Democratic President? Inconceivable!

This is why I love reading Paul Krugman

Finding drug users in the wastewater

Schneier on Security:
"Addiction specialists were not surprised by the researchers' central discovery, that every one of the 96 cities - representing 65 percent of Oregon's population - had a quantifiable level of methamphetamine in its wastewater."
The privacy implications are very interesting, as is the potential to track drug use.

Yes, They’ll Even BS You about the *Weather*

"I've long considered that if conservatives thought it would Strike a Blow Against Liberal Fascist Treason they would lie about, like, the weather -- 'it's raining out!' 'No it isn't!' 'Then, uh, why is water falling out of the sky?' 'Socialism!'"

Read on for an amusing account of one conservative blogger's blatant lies about his local weather in an attempt to deny climate change.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Unreformed health care: minimize health, maximizing profit

Health Care, Less Funny:
: next person to claim the private sector does health care better gets a punch in the face.

There's a measure of profitability that investors look to, and it's called a medical loss's a measure that much of a premium dollar is used by the insurance company to actually pay medical claims. And that has been the early '90s...95 cents out of every dollar was...used by the insurance companies to pay claims. Last year, it was down to just slightly above 80 percent.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Strategic options for climate change mitigation

One of my favorite graphics of climate change solutions:

A party line vote on health care IS a political consensus
"WASHINGTON — A party-line Senate committee vote on legislation to remake the nation’s health care system underscored the absence of political consensus on what would be the biggest changes in social policy in more than 40 years."

Actually, a party-line vote is reflective of a political consensus - that 72% of Americans (and 50% of Republicans) support a health care plan with a publicly-run option to compete with the private sector.

When one party is completely out of touch with America, you can have a political consensus on a party line vote.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Watch what you watch

Lifehacker: "One test found that children aged 7 to 11 who watched a half-hour cartoon that included food commercials ate 45 percent more snack food while watching the show than children who watched the same cartoon with non-food commercials."
If this holds true for other things advertised, I must buy an unholy amount of home improvement material and carpet when I watch baseball.

Government already pays the plurality of medical bills

For those who hate "socialized medicine," there seems to be An unknown country:
It’s a country where there is, indeed, a substantial private health insurance industry, which pays 35 percent of medical bills. But the government pays a larger share — 46 percent. (Most of the rest is out-of-pocket spending.) The country is called the United States of America.

Monday, July 06, 2009

An army of $

"When, why, and how did the United States of America become the land of mercenaries?"
This is a great essay that looks at the challenge of meeting our military goals with a volunteer army (conclusion: we don't, but we pay a lot of mercenaries to fill the gap).

Speaking of public > private

Paul Krugman once again illustrates how government kicks the private sector's ass on health care Administrative costs.

the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has found that administrative costs under the public Medicare plan are less than 2 percent of expenditures, compared with approximately 11 percent of spending by private plans under Medicare Advantage. This is a near perfect “apples to apples” comparison of administrative costs, because the public Medicare plan and Medicare Advantage plans are operating under similar rules and treating the same population.
And in case that simple-yet-true explanation is insufficient, Krugman provided more context for his comparison in a later blog post.

Might private, not public, be the dirty word?

An interesting look at the knee-jerk love of the private sector, even when the public sector cleans its clock, from David Morris:
"Today 'private' has become a positive, even boosterish word, while 'public' carries a shady undertone. 'Private sector' has become synonymous with efficiency and innovation, while 'public sector' connotes bloat and unresponsiveness, even corruption"

...Everywhere we look it is the private, not the public, that has proven bloated, inefficient and corrupt.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 4th Air Quality alert

Judging by the air in my town, thisState Advisory Issued in Advance of July 4th Fireworks Displays would have been warranted here, too.

Seriously, folks, just go watch the city display and give it a rest.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Why its time for the EPA to look at endocrine disrupters

Or, as Kristof puts it, It’s Time to Learn From Frogs:

In the Potomac watershed near Washington, male smallmouth bass have rapidly transformed into “intersex fish” that display female characteristics. This was discovered only in 2003, but the latest survey found that more than 80 percent of the male smallmouth bass in the Potomac are producing eggs.

Now scientists are connecting the dots with evidence of increasing abnormalities among humans, particularly large increases in numbers of genital deformities among newborn boys. For example, up to 7 percent of boys are now born with undescended testicles, although this often self-corrects over time. And up to 1 percent of boys in the United States are now born with hypospadias, in which the urethra exits the penis improperly, such as at the base rather than the tip.

Click for more on endocrine disrupters.

Supreme Court finds discrimiation against white firefighters

This decision could have long-lasting impacts on the ability of public and private entities to use affirmative action or other techniques to keep their workforce diverse. Check out the excellent analysis from the SCOTUSblog

This is no time to balance budgets

That ’30s Show: Paul Krugman is noting that during the depression, hints of recovery led FDR to cave to budget hawks, leading to a plunge back into depression.

"just a few weeks ago, Christina Romer, the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, published an article on the “lessons of 1937” — the year that F.D.R. gave in to the deficit and inflation hawks, with disastrous consequences both for the economy and for his political agenda."

Krugman's analysis is that we not only need to stay the course, but increase the stimulus. The math makes sense. The first stimulus saved 3.5 million jobs, but we're in an 8.5 million job hole. There's a lot of ground left to cover.