blueollie

Health care: I can live with some inequality

Ok, we know that the House attempt to kill Obamacare went down in flames; you had the “Freedom Caucus” who did not want any sort of government involvement at versus some moderates who didn’t want to see so many kicked off of insurance.

So, were do we go from here? Some populists are actually ok with some sort of universal coverage (think: “Medicaid for all”). I do not think that the populists are really free market types who are opposed to a single payer type solution. It is more tribal than that:

I think that perhaps too many of them see others from their tribe as being unworthy slackers and losers. But will enough of them move past that? We shall see.

I wonder if there is a way to play to President Trump’s ego and need for adulation…let HIM be the one that “finally got it done” and got us something like universal health care.

So what would such a plan might look like?

I could see some sort of “basic health care for all” with the option of people either getting some extras on their own. I could live with that, provided the “extras” really were extra.

Example: you get cancer, you get good treatment; the full works.

But if you’ve reached the point where you are semi-conscious, have no realistic chance of pulling out of it, but you want to spend the last month of your life in a semi-conscious state, hooked up to machines …well…that you can have a private policy to pay for. If you want to spend your insurance premium money so you can die on silk sheets, go for it.

Workout notes 4 mile walk on dead legs.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | health care, politics/social, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

A very common type of Trump supporter…

I know it is common to mock Trump supporters as being very wealthy people (e. g. CEOs) interested in getting their “low tax and deregulation” wish list fulfilled or as very dumb, poor people voting against their own interests. I’ve written about those two types of supporters.

But there is another large class of Trump supporters: people who, while not unusually educated, are not poor either. One might think of a factory foreman or perhaps a senior enlisted person in the military.

They are somewhat wealthier than the average American and, realistically, a bit above average in IQ. I was reminded of this type of Trump supporter when I read a comment on a physics professor’s Facebook page:

Rory, I’m a graduate Engineer. I was an Electronic Technician for years before I became an Engineer. I encountered this academic blindness on my first day of “Theory of Electrical Design.” My University professor began the class teaching that Electricity flowed from Positive to Negative because all things must flow “downhill.” I laughed. I had learned that electrons are responsible for electricity and, being negatively charged, they always flow from Negative to Positive AND I had built and repaired many a radio, radar and computer SUCCESSFULLY using this methodology. However, my Professor could/would not accept that fact! He had only heard his theoretical approach (I call it the “hole” theory) and I had to accept his POV in order to pass his class. He had never operated on any electronic devices and did not CARE how things worked in the real world (where I earned my living). It was difficult for him to see anything except theory and he was blind to any other POV. I, on the other hand, once I saw that if I reversed all my polarity signs, I could make the Math work for the sake of a passing the exam. I have other examples of Academic blindness insisting that Reality must change for the sake of their personally proven theory.

This is where you and I are. I have outer world experience in what works. You are an academic professional. You’ve lived inside this academic ‘bubble’ so long, you think I’M mad. The others following your page who delight in slander, emotional name calling, and illogical phraseology because they do not understand me, are different than you or I. There is no hope for them. But I extend this essay in the hope you might see some possibility of value to another view of reality. You see, from where I sit, it is not my view that contradicts the way Reality works, it is yours. And what, may I point out, is one definition of “Mental Illness” but a mental attitude that shuts out reality? With hopes we can exchange some meaningful dialogue, I offer you my Best wishes, Jon

Now, the person who wrote this probably has a somewhat above average IQ, though well below that of the physics professor he was addressing (who is a national class level researcher).

Now here is what is going on: when one teaches, say, circuit analysis to those who do not have a college mathematics and physics background, one must simplify. And at least in the Navy (and perhaps in other places), they are taught an “electron current” theory of electricity. This is more intuitive for them; they can visualize (so they think) little electrons (thought of as, well, small particles) flowing from one place to another.

Because using this convention and simplification allowed for this person to do electronic work, well, that must be “real world”.

In fact, current was defined before electrons were, and the standard electrodynamic theory has current “flowing” in the other direction. That is the universal definition among scientists and engineers and, at the university level and above, that is what *should* be taught.

But oh no…this individual, while not dumb, was terribly ignorant of “what was out there” and not curious enough to learn.

And what of the basic science behind the electronic components that he was able to tinker with during his “technician” days? Did that just appear from a burning bush? Nah, to this obstinate fool, well, that is some “no common sense professor” with his nose too deeply in the book to appreciate REAL WORLD stuff.

Anyhow, there are a lot of Trump supporters like this one. The conclusions that they have reached in their respective limited spheres and limited experiences override expert opinion, especially if that expert opinion is counter-intuitive to them.

Workout notes: 58:36 for a 5 mile walk on the treadmill; it felt fine.

March 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, walking | 2 Comments

I am almost sorry I didn’t vote for Trump

Ok, yes, I still consider Donald Trump to be an unqualified amateur who lacks the necessary deportment and humility to be President of the United States.
I fear that his recklessness will get us into a shooting war; that his ham-handedness will wreck our economy and heaven forbid what will happen when we get our first genuine crisis.

But, well, look at what is happening:

1. A Trump supporter in Chicago is whining about being…bullied? Uh, Trump is the quintessential bully. Oh, let me make it clear: I do NOT approve of threats and the like; if I saw someone vandalize their business, I’d report it to the police right away.

And for what it worth, I do business with companies that are run by Republicans all of the time; I go by things like customer service, how I am treated, how they treat their workers, etc.

But if others want to make choices with their dollars or to denounce their choice, well, that is just “freedom”, no? And remember that Trump bullies people all of the time.

2. Many Trump voters are…worried about losing their Obamacare and/or Medicaid. Seriously? Hey, Trump made much of his money via cons and stiffing contractors. And you thought that he’d tell the truth to you? OMG…I am dying with laughter:

An aim of Republican legislation is to reduce private premiums, but Ms. Sines’s son, who along with her other two grown children signed up for Medicaid under the expansion, has been warning that their coverage could be “in trouble,” she said. She cannot believe Mr. Trump would allow that to happen.

“I can’t imagine them not keeping it like it is now,” said Ms. Sines, who runs a group home for the elderly.

Mr. Waltimire said he hoped to return to the police force, and the health benefits it provides, this year. But with no guarantee of good health — he was injured in a fall in 2009 and has had circulatory problems ever since — he also hopes other options remain available.

“It’s kind of hard for me,” he said of having free government coverage. “I’ve always worked all my life. But like my counselor said, sometimes you just have to say thank you and move forward.”

3. And those who live in impoverished areas just KNOW that good jobs are coming back:

“I voted for Trump 100%,” says Barbara Puckett, a 55-year-old mom, who lives in the small and friendly town of Beattyville. “It’s the most hopeful I’ve been in a long time now that he’s in there.”
Trump won 81% of the vote in Beattyville. People here love that Trump doesn’t “sugarcoat” anything. They feel he understands them, even though he’s a billionaire.
“Donald Trump’s got all the money he’ll ever need,” says Steve Mays, judge-executive for the county and life-long Beattyville resident. The 49-year-old says he’s never been more excited about a president than he is now. “Trump will be a president for the common man.” [..]

“If you got a job here in Beattyville, you’re lucky,” says Amber Hayes, a bubbly 25-year-old mom of two, who also voted for Trump. She works at the county courthouse, but is paid by the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP), a form of welfare.
Coal, oil and tobacco made Beattyville a boom town in the 1800s and much of the 1900s. Locals like to bring up the fact that Lee County — where Beattyville is located — was the No. 1 oil-producing county east of the Mississippi at one time.
“Growing up in the ’70s? Yeah, this was the place to be,” says Chuck Caudhill, the general manager of the local paper, The Beattyville Enterprise. He calls the town the “gem of eastern Kentucky.”
Today, the town is a ghost of its former self. The vast majority of Beattyville residents get some form of government aid — 57% of households receive food stamps and 58% get disability payments from Social Security.
“I hope [Trump] don’t take the benefits away, but at the same time, I think that once more jobs come in a lot of people won’t need the benefits,” says Hayes, who currently receives about $500 a month from government assistance. She’s also on Obamacare.

Uh huh. I am sure that businesses are itching to set something up in this town. ROTFLMAO.

Hey if you vote for a known con artist, you are voting to get conned.

March 20, 2017 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, poverty, social/political | | 2 Comments

And I waste my spring break….

I am just having too much fun on the internet.

Now THAT is my kind of toaster! (this is what this is making fun of: Kellyanne Conway, of couch kneeling fame, claimed that some microwaves have spy cameras)

Cheetocare My “friend” Carmen Johnson and my twitter buddy Diana Archer dubbed this health care train wreck “Cheetocare”. Roughly, it cuts taxes on the upper 2 percent in return for underfunding the Medicare trust fund and not expanding Medicaid …and ..in effect, kicking older people off of Obamacare by allowing the insurance companies to increase the multiplier from 3 times to 5 times (how much more an older person must pay for insurance). Here are some sources: New York Times, Vox, Vox on Medicaid.

If there is a silver lining, it is that poor, red, southern states will be hit the hardest with a “per-capita” Medicaid rating.

But, it is my guess that this bill will either crash and burn in the house or be DOA in the Senate. Even conservative outlets such as Newsmax and Breitbart are denouncing it as Ryan’s plan. In fact, Newsmax is actually proposing “Medicaid for all”; weaker than “Medicare for all” to be sure, but..well…when Newsmax moves somewhat close to what I can live with…these are strange times.

As far as the rest of the Trump agenda: well, lots of CEOs seem to like what they see. I get it: they spend a LOT of time on their own businesses and are pretty good on managing things on a short term basis. Of course if things get so bad that few have money to patronize their businesses…well, I suppose in their eyes, that is some theoretical construct that they don’t have time for now. Micro is their thing, not macro.

Upshot: don’t expect them to move away from Trump for all of Trump’s shortcomings.

Basketball notes: Fun NIT game in Champaign last night; another one in Normal tonight. I’ll write a complete report tomorrow.

Workout notes:
Treadmill run: 10 minute warm up (every 2 minutes), then 10 x 2:30 at 6.7, 2:30 at 5.3 recoveries. I had an extra break when the fire alarm went off (false alarm) so I did one 3 minute interval with a 2 minute rest to make up somewhat. 1:00:44 for 6 miles, 1:02:52 for 10K.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | health care, politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

And I lose my civility…and why it is hard for me to be civil to them.

I had a terse exchange on Facebook; evidently …somehow, I became FB friends with one of “them”.

The person tried to engage in a conversation, and no, he didn’t call me names, didn’t call us “snowflakes” or “libtards” and even admitted that President Obama did some things correctly.

He wasn’t the best informed (didn’t know that the jobs added were private sector jobs…(albeit lower paying that those that were previously lost at the end of the Bush administration)). But he attempted to admonish me to “give Trump a chance” when, in fact, it is Trump’s behavior (tweets, incivility toward political opponents, failure to get facts straight, outright lies that go well beyond political spin) that gives me such contempt for him.

I do not take kindly to being “told what to do” by people who aren’t close friends (at least). And so I was uncivil: “if you don’t like it, stay off of my wall”.

And there, I think, lies much of our political divide.

I have Republican friends that I discuss things with, but we tend to be from the “same tribe”: for us, there is a big difference between saying “you should” vs. “I see it this way…”. We have a set way of communicating. And we have a similar set of facts and a similar way to fact checking. I can say: “it is scientific consensus that…” and point to say, something in the Field Museum. Or they could do the same. We give similar answers to “Why should I believe that…”

And I have little to no patience with people who, say, see a Limbaugh or Breitbart article on the same level, or higher level, than Scientific American.

And I bristle when someone who doesn’t know that they are talking about attempts to “splain” it all to me…especially when they are unaware that they don’t know what they are talking about.

March 7, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

They lie and get away with it…healthcare, wire taps, etc.

First, here is Trump’s claim that President Obama released 122 prisoners from GITMO who returned to the battlefield. Uh, 113 of these were released by President Bush:

But none of this will matter to a Trump supporter.

What about Trump’s claim that he was “wiretapped by Obama”? Well, here is what they find convincing. I actually agree that an impartial investigation is called for; let’s see the evidence used for the relevant FISA warrants. But this article does have a useful list of good article about intercepted intelligence between Trump campaign officials and the Russians.

Here is a more thoughtful article about KremlinGate and what happened. Upshot: you don’t have right to privacy when discussing things with potential spies.

And we move to healthcare. Yes, the Republicans want to give the wealthiest another tax cut and repeal some of the unpopular things from Obamacare..but things that were necessary to make it work. And they want to allow companies to charge older people 5 times more (rather than just 3) and end out of pocked subsidies. My guess: Senate will filibuster and the Republicans will say “we tried” (while breathing a sigh of relief).

March 7, 2017 Posted by | health care, politics, politics/social, republicans, tax cuts | | Leave a comment

Some differences between Trump supporters and Obama supporters….

A few days ago, I posted a snarky tweet about Trump struggling to spell “hereby” and it showed up on Facebook. It got a few likes and comments, and evidently one of those who “liked” my tweet (or retweet) has some Trump supporters on his friends list; evidently my post showed up on this Trump supporter’s wall.

The said Trump supporter thought it was ok to go to my post and chastise me; it wasn’t. 🙂 But the gist is that while the misspelling was something we were having fun with, we are angry about far more than that.

But then one of my facebook friends responded:

And there lies the rub: I expect a US president to have a lot going for him/her. I expect competence, enough humility to know what they know well and to seek out advice when they need it. I expect them to be a master of diplomacy and to set the example for civil behavior.

On the other hand, Trump supporters see President Trump as what THEY would be like were they born into money. They would live that way (I sure as hell wouldn’t) and tell people off and just run off at the mouth; expert knowledge isn’t needed…merely COMMON SENSE (what makes sense to THEM, given their limited experience and background).

They see the careful, nuanced, thoughtful approach of President Obama as a type of weakness.

And to be fair, the rest of the modern Republican party is that way: all slogans, all the time.

And that is probably my biggest beef with modern conservatives. I actually share a few of their values, but I give a high premium to the actual “execution” of the ideas. Just yelling slogans isn’t enough; in fact, it isn’t even a start.

It isn’t enough for an idea to make sense to me; it has to work on the spreadsheet as well.

March 6, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | Leave a comment

So Sessions lied under oath…

The Washington Post reports:

Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) spoke twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Justice Department officials said, encounters he did not disclose when asked about possible contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and representatives of Moscow during Sessions’s confirmation hearing to become attorney general.

One of the meetings was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race. […]

At his Jan. 10 Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the 2016 campaign.

“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

[Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials, key lawmakers to counter Russia stories]

Officials said Sessions did not consider the conversations relevant to the lawmakers’ questions and did not remember in detail what he discussed with Kislyak.

“There was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer,” said Sarah Isgur Flores, Sessions’s spokeswoman.

Oh, there is sure as hell was! Yes, he could say that he didn’t talk about the campaign with the Russians, and that could well be true. But what about “I did not have communications with the Russians.” is unclear? He did not say “…about the campaign”.

And why in the heck could he not say that he had a conversation and say “it wasn’t about the campaign” or “I can’t remember what we talked about”? Meeting with a foreign official isn’t a crime.

It sure appears to me that the entire Trump administration is incompetent.

March 2, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

The capacity for introspection

I was reading a “vaguebook” lament by someone on Facebook and the person included the phrase “how do some people live with themselves”.

I thought about that.

I will not pretend that I don’t make mistakes; I happen to make a LOT of them. I’ve paid for some of these. And on occasion, my thoughtlessness or obliviousness might have hurt someone.

But one of the things I do reasonably well is that I examine myself: “what did I do? How could I have done better? What went well? What should I keep doing? How much of this problem that I am facing is my fault, and what do I have control over? What can (or should) I change?”

Now I won’t pretend that I’ve never faced unfairness; I have. But the vast majority of the unfairness that I’ve faced has been, in the great scheme of things, very isolated and trivial; I have to admit that the major trajectory of my life has NOT been significantly been affected by unfairness.

I also know that there are those who grew up in grinding poverty, faced abuses of varying degrees, were let down by those who should have protected them, been denied deserved promotions, faced racism or sexism, etc. Not of that applies to me but, sadly, it does apply to others.

BUT, I’ve noticed that there are those (e. g. our current POTUS, and yes, some people that I know personally) who seem incapable of even the least bit of introspection. They are good at describing at the wrongs done to them, sometimes embellishing them, and talking about how much they give to others.

But to examine THEMSELVES as for what THEY did wrong or the hurt they caused others: Not. Going. To. Happen.

There was a time I envied such people; after all, many of my errors continue to bother me; it seems as if I remember every failure, misdeed, dishonest act, etc. Ah…to believe that I’ve never done such things…wouldn’t that be great?

Well…yes our POTUS was born rich, but few are. Most have to endure the consequences of their lack of introspection…and surprise, surprise…many end up lonely and wondering “why don’t other people accept me? It must be that they can’t handle all of my positive attributes,”, “they cannot accept a strong, smart woman”, etc. Taking a look at themselves never even occurs to them. And it never will.

March 1, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | 1 Comment

One fundamental tension in my life

It seems that on most issues, I have a tension between what is “right on the spread sheet” and moral values.

schoolbreakfast

This is a good example of this.

On one hand: I believe that, for the most part, that parents are to blame for “hungry children”. Yes, yes, I know, sometimes things like lay-offs, domestic violence, accident, diseases can put otherwise responsible parents into bad situations. So, there should be safety nets. But many times, kids are the outcome of outrageously irresponsible behavior, as many studies, including this one done by a liberal, show. So the people to do something about childhood hunger are the goddamned parents.

But such sentiments are rarely expressed in liberal circles…

ON THE OTHER HAND

When it comes to school, we spend a lot of time and money trying to improve teaching and student learning. “What will help the students learn”? And we spend money on computers, books, desks, etc.

And what is one thing that will help the kids learn? Well, no. 1 is ensuring that they are fed and aren’t spending time thinking about their being hungry. So, for pedagogical reasons, school breakfasts and lunches ARE a wise investment!!!

So ultimately, I favor them and consider the money to be money well spent; the outcome outweighs any disgust that I have.

Workout notes

Weights then my 2 mile treadmill run (ok, 2.04 miles in 20 minutes): 5.2-5.6 (every 2) then 6.7-6.9 (every 2:30), 7, 7.1 for the last minute.

Prior: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10)
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 8 x 170
incline press: 3 sets with the Hammer machine (2 sets of 5, one of 10 with lighter weight)
military press: ONE rep with 50, set of 10 with 40 (dumbbell), 3 sets with the Hammer machine (2 sets of 5 with 90 each arm, 1 set of 10 with 70)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch 10 leg lifts, then headstand. Getting into head stand was hard today, but I stuck with it and got it.

My back: somewhat sore at times today; it is not quite well yet.

February 24, 2017 Posted by | politics/social, running, social/political, weight training | , | Leave a comment