Health care nonsense

Senator Lindsey Graham, referring to the latest Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act, was quoted in The New York Times as saying that the choice for America is “Socialism or federalism when it comes to your health care.” Now, I don’t know whether Senator Graham is really ignorant of what socialism is, or was deliberately misusing the term, but the Affordable Care Act is federalism, not socialism. Continue reading

Medicare for All?

The Angry Old Man just got an email message that said “How do we win transformational change like single-payer, Medicare-for-All? By ignoring the voices that say big change is ‘not realistic,’ pursuing bold ideas, and energizing the public around a grand vision.”

Hello? Do you really want to boldly pursue a grand vision that isn’t realistic? If somebody says it’s “not realistic,” you have to make it realistic.

To begin with, “Medicare for All” is not single-payer. Continue reading

Da more ya wonder

Referring to yesterday’s entry, “Da more ya think about it,” about James Damore’s memo suggesting that inherent differences between men and women might “help explain” the gender imbalance in Google’s technical staff:

On the one hand, there must be psychological differences between men and women. On the other hand, Damore made a serious error in estimating the effect of these differences compared with the effects of prejudice and discrimination. Continue reading

Da more ya think about it …

Sorry; I couldn’t resist the pun. I really have been thinking about it.

Some time during the weekend of August 4–6, James Damore, an engineer employed by Google, publicly released a 10-page memo suggesting that the gender imbalance of Google’s technical staff might be at least partially explained by inherent differences between men and women, and recommending changes in Google’s diversity policy.

On Monday morning, August 7, he was no longer a Google employee. He was fired—for the wrong reason. Continue reading

Bernie Sanders and The Fed

Bernie Sanders, in case you haven’t heard, is a U.S. Senator from Vermont and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the U.S. for the 2016 elections. His position is left of left, and his statements usually make some sense, but not always. For instance, his recent Op-Ed in The New York Times is a complaint about The Fed, by which I think he means the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. His complaint is that there are bankers on the board.

Senator Sanders should know that the Federal Reserve System is a conglomerate of banks. It’s the nation’s central banking system. The board has to have bankers on it. His complaint is that the board includes executives of the very banks the board is supposed to be regulating.

The fix is not to take bankers off the board of a banking system. It’s to get rid of the absurdity of a system of banks supervising other banks.

The Lost Amendments: “to keep and bear arms”

Here’s what a letter printed in The New York Times this morning said:

The Constitution was not written to protect an American’s right to own an arsenal fit for an army.

Excuse me, that’s exactly what it was written for. Continue reading

Why mergers hurt the economy

A recent article in The New York Times on “How mergers damage the economy” missed an important point. It isn’t about having “fewer competitors to worry about” as the article says. It isn’t about collusion. It’s about market share. Continue reading

Management culture

A recent article in The New York Times reported that when the board of directors of Volkswagen found out about the company’s emissions cheating (software that limited pollution from diesel cars when the cars were tested, but not when they were driven), “the automaker’s chief executive, Martin Winterkorn … was pushed out five days after the use of the cheating device became public, though he insisted he had known nothing about it.” How about “… because he insisted he had known nothing about it”? Continue reading

The six inch turtle crossed the road

Driving home one recent evening on a narrow country road, the Old Man rounded a curve to see a turtle about 6 inches across (or was it a tortoise?) in the middle of the lane, heading for the other side. With no time to stop, and no room to pass on either side, the only alternative was to head straight for it, straddling it so it might survive between the wheels. The rear view mirror showed an intact but bewildered turtle motionless in the road.

Why did I estimate 6 inches and not 15 centimeters? Because this is a US website. We are world leaders, leading from behind. We lead the world in capital punishment, in citizens in prisons, in foreigners imprisoned without trial—but I digress. Continue reading

Coroners and Medical Examiners

After the body of Vincent Viafore was recovered from the Hudson River last May, the Orange County medical examiner (as told by Forensic News, among many others) reported that his death was a homicide caused by a “kayak drain plug intentionally removed by other.” The attorney for a suspect in his death claimed that the medical examiner’s office had overstepped its bounds with that determination, saying it was based on police speculation, not an examination of Mr. Viafore’s body.

Some legal experts agreed that the medical examiner went too far. The Orange County executive office, on the other hand, replied that “If medical examiners were limited to basing their conclusions solely on a physical examination of the body there would be no coroner inquests. The coroners and medical examiners have been doing this for over 100 years.”

I wish lawyers would look in a dictionary before making foolish statements. I might even wish that lawyers fulminating about the duties of medical examiners would look in a Medical Examiners’ and Coroners’ Handbook before making foolish statements, but that would be asking too much. Continue reading