Saturday, March 29, 2014

Is Pregnancy a Disease?

Tom posted a comment on MinnPost's Birth Control is Not a Religious Issue, It is Basic Healthcare.
"When did we start treating pregnancy as a disease?"
That triggered some interesting thoughts for me, so I posted comments.  And they did not show up, which happens occasionally the first or second time.  However after posting them 5 times I think someone over their is censoring them...  It is at times like this I am happy to have my own blog.

My comment seemed pretty simple and not too questionable.  It went something like this:
"Tom, That is an excellent comment/question. If pregnancy is the disease, the growing human would be like a tumor. That does seem consistent with the views of the pro-choice groups, even when that little human heart is beating.

So if birth control is not a healthcare issue, but actually a technique to prevent incurring a healthcare issue. Should HEALTH insurance be forced to pay for condoms, motorcycle helmets, airbags in cars, etc? These also are critical prevention methods to protect people from incurring harm while participating in voluntary activities." G2A
I am trying to think of other medicines that healthcare insurance covers to protect people from the actions of their personal choices and activities.  I mean there are well care checks, monitoring tests, drugs to control chronic conditions, etc however I can not think of many other cases where health insurance pays for supplies to prevent a normal healthy human condition from occurring because someone wants to participate in an activity.

I suppose some of the cholesterol drugs enable people to eat unhealthy, however it is to prevent a disease from occurring.  So back to Tom's enlightened question...  Is pregnancy a disease?


FMEA, CAGW and 97%

As I mentioned, I am commenting on MinnPost No Pause but Much Disruption.  The discussion got me thinking about Failure Mode Effect Analysis. (FMEA)  This a tool that we use when looking for potential problems in order to manage them proactively.   
  • Probability (P): likelihood of occurrence
  • Severity (S): how bad will the consequences be
  • Detection (D):  likelihood of issue being found before failure
  • Risk level (P*S) and (D)
This got me wondering what does this questionable 97% actually support?
  1. Human actions may be affecting the climate slightly (low severity)
  2. Human actions are moderately affecting the climate. (some adapting reqd)
  3. Human actions are significantly affecting the climate (major migrations & adapting reqd)
  4. Human actions are devastating the climate (there will be no more humans on earth)
  5. Other?
As I have said before, I do agree that human actions are warming our atmosphere to some extent.  Every time we burn fossil fuels or use electricity, heat energy is released due to the burning process and/or the inefficiency of the mechanical device. (ie engine, etc)  All that potential energy is being dug up and made active within the Earth's atmosphere, so unless the Earth's atmosphere is losing this energy, it is still here as heat.

With that all said, I could believe that 97% of scientists could believe in #1 above.  The question I have is how many believe in numbers 3 & 4?

Forbes: Doctoring 97%
Pop Tech 97% Study Falsely Classifies Papers
Wiki 97% and anthropogenic global warming (AGW)

Forbes: Peer Reviewed Survey
CSW: Taylor Misinterprets
Science Blogs: Denialism From Forbes

Friends of Science Report
DITC: So Called 97%
Watts Up: 97% Consensus Disproven

This came from the Watts Up link and makes my point.
"A tweet in President Obama’s name had assumed that the earlier, flawed paper, by John Cook and others, showed 97% endorsement of the notion that climate change is dangerous.

The new paper by the leading climatologist Dr David Legates and his colleagues, published in the respected Science and Education journal, now in its 21st year of publication, reveals that Cook had not considered whether scientists and their published papers had said climate change was “dangerous”."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Who Stole the American Dream?

 Dave Beal posted an interesting article.  MinnPost Who Stole the American Dream?  It is about a speaker named Hendrick Smith who blames the typical suspects (ie business & rich) for our current financial problems.  And he has a proposal for changing things.  Below is how I started my comment string and it is rapidly spreading from there.  As is typical when I note that the "normal people" actively and willingly help to create our problems...
"Key elements: revitalize an aging transportation system; invest more in research; embrace industrial policy to spur a manufacturing renaissance; overhaul the tax system; pressure China to trade more fairly; cut defense spending; strengthen safety nets in the housing market and for Social Security and Medicare; rebuild the political center; mobilize the middle class."  Hendrick Smith's Key Elements

I am still not sure how this is supposed to work... If American consumers are still resistant to buying American products, who exactly will these manufacturers produce product for? Especially since it looks like his plan will increase the cost of doing business in America..." G2A
Forbes 10 Steps to Reclaim the American Dream
WP Who Stole American Dream
PBS Hendrick Smith
KPLU Hendrick Smith

Thoughts welcome here or there...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No Subsidies for Big Oil

I found the coolest link on CNN at lunch, it detailed the amount of taxes the traditional energy companies have paid and do pay.  In summary it said that it is actually the Energy companies that are subsidizing America, not the other way around.  I think it referenced a WSJ article or opinion piece.

Now here is the frustrating part...  I can't find it again !!! 

Therefore we will need to make due with these for now.  So what do you think:
  • Are the oil companies getting a great deal?
  • Are the oil companies getting excessively taxed?
  • Rationale?
Forbes Oil and Wind Subsidies
CT Eliminate Tax Breaks
AEIdeas Big Oil Big Taxes
AEIdeas Truth about Subsidies
Tax Foundation Oil Industry's Tax Burden
US News Reform Energy Subsidies
The Atlantic Kill the Subsidies

By the way, sorry for the delay in posting.  I took advantage of the CAGW to go skiing at Lutsen on Sunday and Spirit Mountain on Monday.  The conditions were great !!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

MN Tax Cuts

So I have been holding onto my taxes for 2 reasons:
  1. I owe money to the Feds and State, so why pay early...
  2. I hope that soon I will owe less to the State...
I know it is probably wishful thinking, but where there is life there can be hope.

Well it looks like the Senate is finally ready to take some action.  Though they apparently want to keep more than the Reps and Governor did.  Of course that may be because they are not up for election this fall...

Inforum Tax Cuts Pending
WC Tribune Tax Cuts

So what do you think of this situation?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cheaper Cleaner Energy

I had 3 Liberals tell me that we use the forms of energy we do because of some corporate conspiracy puts profits before lives, and that there are cheaper and cleaner energy forms out there that they won't give us access to. (see below)  Of course I asked them to tell me more about these cheaper cleaner energy forms and got no answers.

Todd's comment was interesting, though I am thinking the "cost to stop pollution" is already built into these forms of energy.  By this, I mean the costs we spend on engine emissions, scrubbers, etc.

So what forms of energy should we encourage, are they cleaner, are they cheaper, etc?
"The "skepticism" of the deniers is just a cover. The truth is, they don't WANT to acknowledge that global warming is real, and that it is caused by humans. They want to keep their big ol' trucks, they want to keep their fossil fuel industries running, they want to stick it to the tree-hugging libruls." RB

"Oil and coal are only cheap if you don't factor in the cost of pollution." Todd

"Once again, stereotypical thinking trumps reality. You're assuming there's a "free" market somewhere that's produced the best outcome. We don't use coal and crude because they're cheap, we use them because our existing infrastructure is organized around them. Other forms of energy are more economical but there's are powerful energy monopolies and an existing infrastructure that's not engineered to distribute and utilize other forms of energy. In effect, the exact opposite is true, the reason cheaper forms of energy are not being deployed is because they are so cheap no one has yet figured out how to make money distributing them. The problem with renewable energy is that it's so cheap its hard to charge enough to provide it.

The truth is that as an economy we're spending too much on energy and we have an inefficient energy structure. Again, it's a myth that cheaper energy will cost us more or deliver some kind of blow to our economy. It would deliver a blow to existing energy producers but the spending would simply shift to other segments of the economy... and that would be actually be good for the economy." Paul

Friday, March 14, 2014

Climate Change Revisited

Since you gave me no links...  I randomly pulled a bunch out of google.

Pro Con Climate Change
Climate Debate Daily
U Chicago Climate Change Debate
Should Congress Address Climate Change?
Live Science Climate Change
CNN Costello Debate Climate Change
Guardian 5 Antarctic Facts
Intergovernmental Panel on CC
Skeptical Science
Climate Change Facts
UN Climate Summit
G2A Global Warming Revisited
Science of Global Warming Seeds2Learn Software

So here we go with some of the usual questions:
  • Does abnormal climate change exist?
  • If so, are the behaviors of humans causing this?
  • If so, why are the deniers so adamant?
  • If not, why do so many people believe it does?
  • If so, how bad will it get?
  • If so, how much financial and other sacrifices do we make today?
  • If so, what will be the benefits?
Do we stop using coal to generate electricity immediately?  Is the problem really that severe?

Do we use our finances for "clean" energy rather than food, education, defense, etc?


Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

GOP Issues / Belief Survey

Now Grace at MPP is usually a bit far Left of Center, however I am not used to her being so cynical.
MPP GOP Translation

Here is the actual GOP survey.  Thoughts?

And here is another one...

Monday, March 10, 2014

PolyMet Mining Regulatory Hurdles: Good or Bad

Conservatives often complain that the American and Minnesota Regulatory Environment is excessive, unnecessary, and that it stifles growth, wastes money on bureaucrats, kills jobs, snuffs profits, etc.  Dan Burns wrote the following at MN Progressive Project, and it is an interesting if biased post.  MPP Public Opinion about PolyMet

Here are some more links reference links:
PolyMet Mining
PolyMet Map/Brochure
Mining Truth
MinnPost Centuries


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Wages vs Buying Behavior

Chickens or Eggs

1. Low Wages caused Buy Cheap Foreign
2. Buy Cheap Foreign caused Low Wages

Jason, Paul and Other more Liberal comments were surprised and somewhat appalled when they finally understood that I believe we may have gotten what we asked for... MP Don't need Higher Min Wage  and MP Tax Payers Subsidize Low Wages

"SINCE 1980 middle class wages have stagnated and buying power decreased"

Exactly... Starting in ~1980, many American consumers decided they liked foreign products that they deemed to be better, more cost effective, more fashionable, etc...

No wonder wages stagnated... American consumers severely curtailed their "Buy American" belief and started spending massive amounts of money overseas... I mean just automobiles were billions and billions of dollars by themselves.
Big 3 vs Foreign Graph

And yes American companies also moved production offshore to save money. However most Americans didn't care as long as they got the right good at the right price.

Until this changes back, we will keep sliding the wrong direction..." G2A
"So it's the financially strapped consumer who is responsible for their own wages stagnating. Good God...." Jason

"Isn't that a bummer...
Did you look at the KOGOD auto index?

Almost every Lexus, Scion, Subaru, Nissan, Infiniti, Mazda, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Audi, Volvo, Porsche, Hyundai and Kia score low on the list. And the imports that are built here are in "right to work" states.

So yes American consumers are gladly choosing to send their money to overseas workers, managers, governments, etc. Instead of supporting American workers and domestic jobs.

Per the graph I shared, the big 3 had ~75% of the car market in 1980 and now they have ~45%.

A question: do you look for the Made in America stamp before buying products, and pay a little extra if necessary to buy them? Or do you just buy low price things that you like?"
"John your buy American wage stagnation arguments make no sense because US economy didn't stagnate, wages stagnated. Since 1980 US GDP has tripled from $5 trillion to nearly $16 trillion. Wages didn't stagnate because people weren't buying American, wages stagnated because employers stopped handing out raises and paying employers good wages. 90% of all the economic growth the US has seen over the last three decades or so has been captured by the top 5% or so of the population. You're ignoring the phenomenal growth in disparity. Your argument assumes that wages stagnated because the money's not there, not true, our economy has grown by more than 300%. The moneys there, it's just not going to labor regardless of who's cars their buying. The growth of the economy is charted here... and elsewhere." Paul

"Here is an interesting link.

The reality is that myself and other investors make money whether consumers buy from Ford or Subaru. My mutual funds own both.

Another reality is that few to no American employees are needed to design, test, build, etc that Subaru car, or clean, do accounting, work IT, manage, etc at their corporate headquarters.

Therefore people like myself still get wealthier and buy services, while the number of higher paying jobs at Ford and other USA manufacturers are eliminated. And to make things worse for the American workers, the American manufacturers need to automate or off shore to compete with Subaru.

So yes, what the consumer's choice does matter.

By the way, on the upside my company does sell equipment to almost all of the foreign car manufacturers. So some of those dollar do make it back to the USA, unfortunately most of them stay over there and not in the US worker's pocket." G2A

Now I know we have been through this before...  However any new thoughts?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Minimum Wage Increase is Not Necessary

MinnPost did something very good today, they posted this piece that was written by an immigrant from the USSR who lives in Marshall MN.  MinnPost Minimum Wage Increase is Not Necessary  Though a little biased, it is well written and clearly describes the issues/consequences that the pro-wage folks keep denying.

I also found it interesting because it is typical of what my other USSR immigrant friends are saying.  They keep telling me that the Liberals should move to a more Socialistic country if they think it is a good thing.  There was a reason they left and have no intention of going back...

It is also amusing that the typical MinnPost commenters are beside themselves with frustration.  Those comments are worth the time of reading just for the fun of it.

More typical of MinnPost is How Tax Payers Subsidize Low Wage Workers.  Here was my view on that:
"Thank Heavens!!! We apparently can quantify what the low wage earners are costing our society. That is actually a good thing. We as a society can choose to support them and know what it costs.

Whereas by raising the minimum wage, we will push up all of our costs and hide what society is paying for these low wage earners. Also, it will increase the justification for automation, off shoring, etc.

And the Liberal folks here should find this much better than an increased minimum wage. The increased minimum wage and the ripple increases will be paid for by everyone including the people you aim to help. (ie regressive tax) Whereas these government programs are mostly paid for by the middle and upper income folks. (ie progressive taxes)

This is an ironic turn of events." G2A

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Why Tax Payers Subsidize Oversized Homes?

Jerry breathed some life into G2A MN Affordable Housing by noting that houses can be purchased for $5,000.  And I found this Wiki Small House Movement page.

Then I see that we taxpayers are going to spend more money to heat other people's houses.
MN Heating Assistance Increased   This has me wondering again how much house is enough house, and why are we citizens pay personal bills so people can live above their means and often their needs?

A typical story would be the elderly empty nester couple, or the elderly widow who live in a home that is big enough for the family who is no longer there.  The home often needs some modernization to be energy efficient, is rather expensive to maintain/heat.

Now I understand that the home is more than just a place to sleep for many people.  However is it really the responsibility of the tax payers to subsidized people's nostalgia, or desire for more home than they can afford?