Who Thought it could be So Complicated?

April 10, 2017

Is it just me or is it more than Donald Trump that seems completely naive on the complexity of major issues.

Health care: Who would of thought? You can almost forgive Trump’s ignorance, because, let’s face it, he is fundamentally ignorant of the issues, but can you forgive the Republican leadership? I’m guessing that Trump simply assumed that the Republicans had this in the bag and he would ride their plan to success. Seven years of planning leading to a plan whose only purpose would be to recover budget to allow greater tax cuts.

Syria: Who would think that you could just walk away from one of the most violent areas of the world? Who would have thought that a handful of cruise missiles wouldn’t have done the trick? Afterall, isn’t Trump smarter than our generals? Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be able to think more than half a step from where he is now.

Tax Reform: Should have been easy. Really. Not pleasant, totally unfair to the middle-class, but easy. Republican White House, Republican Senate, Republican Congress. Yet it is “back to the drawing board” http://finance.yahoo.com/news/search-consensus-taxes-veers-unexpected-123451082.html.

Pretty sorry state of affairs if you ask me.

This is Frightening

March 2, 2017

Recently there was an article on a “DREAMer” being detained by ICE. The article is concerning because it smacks of targeting outspoken immigrants, which smacks of authoritarianism.  The Immigration officers have been embolden (remember claims of jack booted thugs … maybe we are really seeing this in the government).

But that’s not the real issue.  The real issue is the reaction of people to this story.  Now I know this is not representative of the nation at large but it is frightening.  Like looking at an X-ray and realizing that this little shadow over here is cancer.

I think this election has illuminated a lot of “bad hombres” and the bad hombres are a large swath of the general public with serious anger (hate) issues.

 

  • Thank you President Trump for following the rule of law. Hispanic American citizen taxpayers, like me and my family spent a fortune becoming citizens, Illegal aliens are freeloaders. It’s about time we enforced immigration laws. God bless President Trump.
  • Activist illegals should be the first ones to get tossed; right after the criminal illegals.
  • Ever Valles, illegal detained by ICE in Denver in December only to be released and go on to murder a 32 year old man in January. Would be a more appropriate story but you’ll never see it on Yahoo because it doesn’t fit the liberal narrative.
  • There is a Huge Difference between an “Immigrant” and Illegal Invader which the left wing press (PRAVDA) always overlooks!
  • “Scared for her life”?? Sounds like a Lawyer coacher her. I know facing the reality of your parents ILLEGAL actions may be frightening…but it is your parents fault…NOT AMERICAS!!
  • Good, that ought to shut her up!!! I’m tired of these illegals thinking they can protest and outright brag about being illegals and nothing happens. If I were an illegal I’d head back home to my home country or keep your mouths shut and crawl back into your hidey holes. Long overdue!
  • Gotcha. Adios.
  • Goodbye, get out of our country if you can;t follow the rules.
  • Don’t you mean illegal immigrant? It’s amazing to me. These people are here illegally and everyone goes crazy when you uphold the law and President Trump is the current punching bag. The 435 in congress and 100 in the senate have done nothing to fix this problem, blame them. Some have been there for 20 or 30 or more years and have done zip to fix our immigration problems. They’re the ones we all nee to be looking at, not the President.
  • thats right,, now they can go to the demonstrators,, and get the ones who don’t even qualify, for that traitor program,, like i told my neighbors, years ago,, just wait until we get a president who will deport you,, and she says,, chu betta watch what chu saying!!!!!,, and called the sheriff on me… because i told them to get the hell away from my property,, or i will kill you… the cops had to agree,, after all you came to his driveway,, and that is the only proof we have…. get them ready ,, ,way over due!!!!

Of course there is job lock

March 2, 2017

I recently saw this article on how ACA helped alleviate job lock.

It seems obvious to me.   Without reliable, independent, and reasonably priced  health insurance I would have difficulty working on my own (which I have done in the past as a consultant).  I would find it more difficult to retire as well.

Some folks probably consider job-lock a good thing:  driving full employment.  It is not. It stifles entrepreneurship, saddles companies with expensive older employees that are less motivated to work, which robs opportunities from the next (two) generations.

And now for something completely political:  The Republicans don’t get this.  I think few in government do, and I’m including both sides of the aisle.  Bernie has it down.

Free-market education isn’t the way to go

February 23, 2017

Dismal Results From Vouchers Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins

The belief that free-market improves structures with societal underpinnings is just a broken idea.

Want to fix education?  Invest in teachers.  Simple things like:  enough resources that teachers don’t have to go to Staples and pay for supplies with their own money. Student loan forgiveness.  Block grants to states to distribute to the most depressed school districts to increase salaries and attract better teachers.

Maybe here is where a tax credit would be nice though that is incredibly complex to administer.

Invest less in expensive “Smart Boards” and put iPads into the hands of students.  Heck, let them play with Raspberry Pi’s.  We are a technology-based economy and every student should have a basic understanding of computers. It has become as basic as math (which we seem to be lousy at teaching as well)!

 

Support the Fourth Estate

February 18, 2017

In Trump Era, Censorship may start in the Newsroom

I’ve mentioned this before.  The Press is critical in the counter-balance of falsehood, mistakes, outright lies not only of the Trump administration but of the entire political establishment.  It is critically important that the public support the press!

It is important when the press is persecuted (e.g., A Jewish Reporter Got to Ask Trump a Question. It didn’t go well.) that established press, and social media, cry out about the injustice.

We must beware of the warping of the role of the press (Trump Calls the News Media the ‘Enemy of the American People’).

Orwell’s 1984 is looking very prescient.

 

Trump may go “nuclear”

February 2, 2017

Trump may go Nuclear.

Isn’t this the truth.  The feeling I have is that Trump’s role is less about “draining the swamp” than “blowing up the government.”

It will be an interesting experiment.  How much does the disruption of government matter?  Where will America be in four years?  How irreversible will the changes be?

In some sense I think Trump will do two things that are positive:

  1. Spur people to become active in America and express themselves, hopefully more positively than negatively.  I hope people will step into the widening chasm being opened by Trump to shore up the values that make our lives worthwhile.
  2. Prove that our democracy really is resilient.  This may take a long time.  At this point the government seems to be completely disconnected with the people it should most protect.

Don’t get me wrong, I think we are in for some real setbacks.  Some of these setbacks are going to take a long time to recover.  I worry about Healthcare, but even more so, I worry about the environment.  Nature is resilient but on more geological time frames and without any regard about human aesthetics.  If the world were to smolder and simmer, Nature would eventually adapt and evolve, It might not become a very pleasant place for us, but it might be very pleasant for creatures like cockroaches.   I’d hate that to be our legacy to our grandchildren.

How do you fight Trump!

January 30, 2017

I struggle with how to respond to the Trump presidency. Here are my current thoughts:

1. Fight policy. Fight with facts. Don’t make it personal.
2. Subscribe to a reputable newspaper. Examples: NYTimes, Boston Globe, LA Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribute, The Guardian.

Why subscribe to a newspaper? Because we need the fourth estate to expose lies, to correct falsehoods, and to do this relentlessly.

3. Communicate with your representatives. They are being swamped right now so don’t expect a response. You will be part of a statistic that will grow and will be heard in aggregate.

4. I’m not sure where to send money. Some ideas: Bernie’s Revolution. The Democrats. But perhaps organizations on the ground such as the ACLU, the SPLC, Doctors without Borders, etc.

5. Responding to the imminent demise of Obamacare is likely to turn this into a battle with the States. It is likely that part of the replacement of the ACA will be something like a block grant to be administered by the states. We need to push states to prepared for universal coverage.

That’s a quick thought…more quick thoughts later. Don’t hesitate to reply. I had to turn on monitoring to avoid endless spam but I will happily allow any replies that are at least close to appropriate.

Mr Trump should plead for Forgiveness.

January 29, 2017

American Commando Killed: Trumps first casualty

Trump believes he “knows more than generals.” I certainly hope he personally explains the death of this soldier to his parents and other loved ones.

We have a president that not only expresses himself in 140 character quips, but apparently actually thinks in snippets.

Clearly the buffoonery of the closing of US borders to seven countries (countries that are business associates of Trump conveniently omitted) is another indication of actions that are simply not well thought out (see US Senate response).

It is absolutely critical this course of thought (let alone action) be checked by the other branches of government. We are careening down a road that may have irreparable consequences. Just ask this soldiers parents.

Congratulations IBM on Wasting Watson

May 3, 2016

Here are three of the publicized uses of Watson (2,880 POWER7 processor threads and 16 terabytes of RAM — not quite a super computer such as IBM’s BlueGene but millions of dollars of hardware nevertheless):

A dress that lights up based on social network feedback

Oil Company defends against anti-fracking tweeting

And let’s not forget:

Customized granola

Honestly, IBM, couldn’t you leverage this platform for something more significant?  You got off to such a great start with clinical decision support.  Perhaps meaningful problems need more than “Human-like interaction” and “Big Data analysis”.

 

 

My Weight Loss

February 6, 2016

In the past 9 months, I’ve managed to lose 30 pounds and have kept it off.  I was motivated by a couple of things:

  1. A guy at work who works in India and sees me relatively infrequently said, in not so many words, I looked like I had put on weight.
  2. I was running out of clothes to wear.
  3. I was diagnosed with type-II diabetes.

The third one was the kicker.  Once you look into diabetes you realize how bad it can be:  blindness, stroke, circulation problems leading to amputation, etc.  Being overweight was a major contributor.

So I began a weight loss program of my own design.  It is actually pretty simple.

Rule #1:  Take in fewer calories than you burn.  This is a basic statement like saying you need to know F=ma to get to the moon.  Is is necessary but far from sufficient to succeed. I keep a mental note of my calorie intake per day and adjust as necessary.

Rule #2: Make time to take care of myself.  I dedicate 1/2 hour every morning to walk on a treadmill.  I typically do this early in the morning. I considered it a way to justify having breakfast.

Rule #3: I weigh myself every day.  If I am up a little, then I eat a little less for the day.

I changed what I ate, partly because of the type II diabetes:

— cut carbs
— increase fruit
— increase protein
— increase sugar-free, no-added-sugar, reduced-sugar “stuff”

You must pay attention to labels.  For example, most flavored yogurt has a lot of sugar.

Analyze your food triggers.  I found that stress at work made me want to eat.  It is not that I don’t eat; but I recognize the trigger and maybe will eat an apple or a large glass of water.

Recognize that your relationship with food is going to change.  There’s an old story about an actor talking with Cary Grant and Cary told him to not get involved with food to keep yourself in shape.  In my case, I try not to eat what I don’t enjoy and then eat less of what I do enjoy.  I think that has to become pretty pervasive.

I also take Metformin for my diabetes.  This has the side effect of helping in controlling hunger.  In my case, metformin has some unpleasant side effects (gas) and if I didn’t need it for my diabetes I certainly wouldn’t take it.

We’ll see how long I can keep this going.  I certainly feel better.   I find that my average speed walking on the treadmill has increased.  I’m hoping that my metabolism is improving.

There are also different plateaus.  I’m at 185 pounds and I definitely have to work to maintain that.  I would like to lose 10 more pounds but it will require a redoubling of my efforts.  I want to stay stable for a while.

Let’s see where we are a year from now.