Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Popping in for a Quick Update

I'm doing most of my blogging at this time on either Liberty's Torch, or The Declination. I was doing a lot of subbing, but am trying to finish my second book (started last spring, stalled for a while, then, re-booted in NaNoWriMo). I did not make goal in NNWM, but decided to re-set the goal - which if now 12/19. So, I need to focus on that, for now.

Today, I'm off to subbing. I was doing a lot of that, but have cut back, as December's jobs go on the 2019 tax year. I should be fine with about 5-6 jobs a month from now on.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Privatization of Medicare?

Guys, it's happening already.

And, I'm completely OK with that.

Here's what's happening:

  • You get Part A - the government picks up all the cost of that
  • you get Part B - the government picks up all, or most (except for $134 for most recipients) of that 
  • You choose your Part C - THAT'S where the privatization comes in.
The Part C - you pay a small amount (if that - my monthly this next year will be ZERO). The federal government picks up the rest.

The government then pays these private companies to run the claims for all of the recipients in their plan. If it costs them MORE than the amount budgeted, the company takes the hit. If it costs them LESS than the amount budgeted, the company takes the profit.

There is a huge financial incentive in these companies to get, and keep, you healthy. To that purpose, most have agreed to pick up fitness memberships, which should improve the overall health of the Medicare recipient.

Could they just deny most, if not all claims, to improve their bottom line? Well, technically, they could, but then those people would just select another plan the next time they had Open Enrollment.

Are some companies denying care, such as proton therapy for some cancers? That happens even with non-Medicare plans. And, to be fair, proton therapy is not always the best choice for all cancers.

But, generally, such therapy is easier to get through the system than other therapies - proton therapy is much less destructive of nearby tissues, and has a better recuperation rate.

Might they not pay for transplants? VERY FEW plans pay for those over 65 - they're a high risk, low good outcome group.

So - why is this BETTER than the old way of handling Medicare?


Unlike the government employees, who have little to gain by questioning billing, the private industry looks askance at inflated/erroneous bills, and will generally snoop out those Medicare Mills that churn patients through to generate multi-million dollar incomes.

Since a very large part of the cost of Medicare is the fraud involved in it (according to then-Attorney General Holder, approximately 60 BILLION a year), this is one method of reducing costs that might have a better outcome than many other measures.

The overall cost of Medicare to taxpayers was $672.1 billion in 2016. So, the fraud amounts to about 10%.

That could pay for a LOT of services and medications for seniors.

For now, this may be the best solution. I'll report back next year, and see if I still think so.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Seeing The CRAZY Erupt - Will It Stop EVER?

The recent comments by HRC have been analyzed. Were they just a human, fleeting moment of irritation that the opposition is developing a spine?

Were they a signal that the Left - not known for its 'civility' - is prepared to go even further than they already have:

  • Assault
  • Attempted murder
  • Screaming rage on the Senate committee floor
  • Using their fists to ineffectually 'batter down' the Supreme Court doors
  • Doxxing their political opponents
  • Releasing confidential government information - a Federal offense, BTW
  • Removing Due Process from quasi-judicial proceedings
  • Allowing unsubstantiated accusations - what USED to be called slander - in confirmation hearings
  • Rioting in the streets
  • Preventing others from exercising their 1st Amendment rights
  • Approving of masked people assaulting opponents, destroying property, and using weapons in a public place, with no opposition from government
The list is long. It is beginning to seem as though it will never end.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

You Don't BUY Digital Media - You Only Lease It

This thread brings up an important concept. We have become a Renter Society, rather than an Ownership Society.

Some things that used to be owned, but are no longer:

  • Movies - if they are a digital stream, they are RENTED
  • Music
  • Cars
  • Housing - condos, most senior housing, homes with HOAs - in every case, your absolute right to do with your possession as you wish has been restricted. If senior housing, you cannot deed it to your inheritors, if they are not of senior age. They have to sell it upon inheritance.
Our society has become a fully consumer society, that no longer takes possession, and uses the resource as they will. They have become a society that must ask permission of their overlords to use the property they paid for.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Value of Different Perspectives

Amazingly, for a field of study that makes so much about being driven by impartial, logical reasoning, geology might be as prone to group-think as anthropology or sociology.

This Atlantic article shows a prime example of that surprisingly convergent thinking of geologists on the various extinction theories. Most in the field support the meteor-hit in the Yucatan explanation. Dr. Geerta Keller, of Princeton, is a dissenter, whose hypothesis that massive volcanic activity in India triggered the mass extinctions.

I've generally found most of their science-related articles in The Atlantic are top-rate - accurate as to the science, while being accessible for the layman.

That the dissenting scientist is a woman is a footnote. Other scientists who've experienced isolation and push-back have been males, from a minority culture, or Good Old Boys from the elite institutions.

What is notable is that most of these dissenters come from a background that has led them to be comfortable outside of the consensus of the group. Without that ability to shrug off criticism and even ridicule, they would never be able to persevere in their studies of alternative hypotheses. Women, by definition, are a distinct minority in the physical sciences. As such, those that persist in pursuing a career are those that have internal strength and lesser need for interpersonal connections. They can sit in a room where no one looks like them, their input is disparaged, and few want to associate with them - and, yet, continue working, seemingly without personal or psychic distress.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer Reading List Wars

I was reading The Passive Voice blog, and this caught my eye.
Publishing Perspectives readers are familiar with this case from our reporting earlier this month on how the police organization president, John Blackmon is calling for an English-class summer reading list to drop The Hate U Give (HarperCollins, 2017) by Angie Thomas and All American Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2015) by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.
Both books have stories that include police brutality and racism as themes, and both are among the most highly acclaimed bestsellers in their sector of recent years. Blackmon’s complaint about the books–two of four titles from which students of Wando High Schoo’s English 1 class in Mount Pleasant are to choose and read one.
In the guild’s open letter to the police group, executive director Mary Rasenberger writes, “Attempts at censorship by law enforcement organizations cannot be tolerated in a democracy. Educators must be free to choose books on any and all subjects for their students’ reading.”
The position of the Guild is clear - government employees are NOT to dictate which books schools will use.

However, as Passsive Guy points out,
this is an argument between two different entities comprised of government employees.
 Furthermore, like the Guild, the police organization - the FOP, the Fraternal Order of Police - is NOT an official part of government. It is a private, voluntary organization - which makes this NOT censorship, which is action by government.

Because I like to see context, I checked out some of the lists (the two books that caused objections are boldfaced):

English I - CP (College Prep)

  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds - kid out to avenge brother's death, meets people who have been affected by violence
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - story of refugees on a boat that will be sunk - set in WWII
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon - chance meeting between rich privileged boy, and poor immigrant Jamaican girl who is being deported
English I - Honors
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds - what are the odds! Another book by the same guy as above! This is one of the ones that was specifically objected to. It deals with racial tension in school and community (hint: the cops AREN'T the good guys)
  • Denton Little’s Death Date by Lance Rubin - science can predict your date of death - the named protagonist is due to die tomorrow.
  • Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin - alternative WWII history - girl escapes from death camp, is changed by experiments performed on her
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - a classic, for once
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles - yet another classic - one that is specifically anti-war
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - yet another classic - government is the evil one, again
English II - CP - repeats the list of English I CP

English II - Honors
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding - yet another classic, this one showing how awful young men are
  • A Hope in the Unseen:  An American Odyssey from the Innter City to the Ivy League, by Ron Suskind - yes, that IS a typo in the list - poor Black kid succeeds
  • Educated, by Tara Westover - a girl from a survivalist family leaves them, and 'gits her an edu-ka-shun'
  • Elon Musk:  Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance - biography
  • Sgt. Reckless:  America’s War Horse,by Robin Hutton - bio of a horse - but, she's FEMALE!
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls - po' girl leaves crazy family behind, becomes successful (hey, isn't there already one book on the list like that?)
English III CP

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, (fiction) - Indian kid moves to a school off-rez, where is it the only Indian other than the mascot
  • Alice in Zombieland by Gina Showalter, (fiction)
  • Gal by Ruthie Bolton, (biography) - girl grows up in abusive SC home
  • Gym Candy by Carl Deuker, (fictionGroomed by his fater (sp) to be a star player, football is the only thing that has ever really mattered to Mick Johnson, who works hard for a spot on the varsity team his freshman year, then tries to hold onto his edge by using steroids.
  • Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls, (fiction) - ranch girl, breaks horses, grows up to speak against prejudice (another by the same author as the above list)
  • Sunrise of Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers, (fiction) - Robin Perry from Harlem is sent to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civilian Affairs Battalion, and his time there profoundly changes him. 
English III Honors

ð     The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd - fiction - slave in the Grimke family, and owner-daughter of the house (in real life, a feminist and abolitionist) - both changed by their relationship
ð     The Color of Water by James McBride - author writes of his mother, daughter of Polish immigrants who marries Black minister, has 11 children
ð     The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult - child befriends her coach and teacher. Turns out, he is a Nazi. Will she betray him to his pursueers? Will she help him kill himself? Who cares?
ð     Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (repetition? They seem to like the same authors a LOT) - a story about a school shooter. The other book that was protested - and, again, WHAT A SURPRISE! The cops shot a young man who wasn't doin' nothin' at all!
ð     The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - girl from the hood, attends a prep school. She witnesses a shooting by a cop. Outrage ensues. Did I mention that the kid that got shot had been doing NOTHING, nothing at ALL?
ð     Toughness  by Jay Bilas - coach talks about how to be mentally tough
ð     Beautiful Boy by David Sheff - journalist father talks about his son's battle with addiction to meth
ð     Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance - a REALLY good book. Vance is hard-headed about the deficiencies and strengths of his family, and what it took to get out of the poverty trap.

There are more books - go here to see the rest. What strikes me about the choices is that they are so problem-focused. Only a few are not destined to be forgotten in a short time, both by readers, and by history.


Popping in for a Quick Update

I'm doing most of my blogging at this time on either Liberty's Torch , or The Declination . I was doing a lot of subbing, but am try...