Monthly Archives: October 2013

Global Warming And Forest Fires

Global Warming Polar Bear

Given the fact that we are experiencing Global Warming absent any warming in the last 15 years, it’s no surprise that “NPR Staff” totally missed this:

It has been a deadly year for the people who fight wildfires. In total, 32 people have lost their lives fighting fires in 2013; the highest number in nearly 20 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Just one incident accounts for most of those deaths, the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. In June, the blaze blasted through a firefighting crew known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots; .

As people move farther into wildland areas and climate change turns landscapes into tinder, experts say the wildfire danger around the country will likely only grow. But there may be a lesson to learn from how the U.S. stifled an earlier fire crisis in urban settings.

For the benefit of NPR Staff’s readers, here’s the stats:

Forest Fire Trend

Both the number of fires and of acres burnt are trending down.

You would think that information should have made it into the article.


Obamacare – Econ 101

Monopoly Free Market

It’s a simple concept; make a thing more expensive and the demand for that thing is reduced:

Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. which is the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, told Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File,” that his company and others will choose to hire part-time employees instead of full-time employees because of increased costs from the health care law.

He said in the six months in 2013 before the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate, which requires companies with over 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage to all full-time employees, employers were already reducing worker hours to prepare for the law.

“It’s very simple if you increase the cost of something businesses will use less of it,” Puzder said. “If you decrease the cost they will use more of it. So if you increase the cost of full time employment, there will be less full time employees. If you decrease the cost of part time employment, you’ll have more part time employment.”

I am reminded of Hanlon’s Razor:

 Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

It is becoming increasingly clear, even to Obama’s supporters, that he is stupid.

On Hoodies, Dress and Impressions

I often find myself going back to the hoodie conversation.  The idea that what you wear, and when you wear it, impact what people perceive.

I keep going back to the guys that designed Obama’s technical advantage during the 2012 election:

“Harper is an easy guy to underestimate because he looks funny. That might be part of his brand,” said Chris Sacca, a well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist and major Obama bundler who brought a team of more than a dozen technologists out for an Obama campaign hack day.

Reed, for his part, has the kind of self-awareness that faces outward. His self-announced flaws bristle like quills. “I always look like a fucking idiot,” Reed told me. “And if you look like an asshole, you have to be really good.”

It was a lesson he learned early out in Greeley, Colorado, where he grew up. “I had this experience where my dad hired someone to help him out because his network was messed up and he wanted me to watch. And this was at a very unfortunate time in my life where I was wearing very baggy pants and I had a Marilyn Manson shirt on and I looked like an asshole. And my father took me aside and was like, ‘Why do you look like an asshole?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t have an answer.’ But I realized I was just as good as the guys fixing it,” Reed recalled. “And they didn’t look like me and I didn’t look like them. And if I’m going to do this, and look like an idiot, I have to step up. Like if we’re all at zero, I have to be at 10 because I have this stupid mustache.”

This guy brings game.  And he knows that he looks like an idiot.

I’m not as skilled in my field as Reed is in his, but I don’t dress like an ass.  However, I do sport long hair in a corporate environment and know that I have to work a titch harder than the other guy to succeed.

Pino Is Right – Sebelius Blames Claims Obama Kept Promise

Kathleen Sebelius

Last night at about 6:30 I opined on how long it would take the administration to deflect blame on the policy cancellations from Barack Obama to the insurance companies.

It took about 18 hours:

The White House has struggled to defend President Obama’s 2009 claim as thousands of people receive notifications that their insurance companies are dropping their plans.

“Is he keeping his promise?” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked Sebelius.

“Yes he is,” the Health and Human Services secretary responded.

She repeated the administration’s argument that, if people are losing their plans, it is because of insurance companies and not the new healthcare law.

“If a person had a policy in place in March 2010, liked that plan, and the insurance company made no changes to disadvantage the consumer, those policies are in place, you keep your plan if you like it, and that goes on,” Sebelius told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“People though who had a medically underwritten policy, were paying more than their neighbor because they happen to be female … they will have a new day in a very competitive market,” she added.

Many insurers have stopped offering plans that do not comply with regulations issued by the Health and Human Services Department outlining basic levels of coverage. Consumers who have received such notices are often left with more expensive options.

These people simply lied.  It’s not like the traditional campaign speech promising no school on Fridays and a pretty girl for every boy.  They knew that people, by the millions, would lose their coverage and they kept saying that they wouldn’t.

The next sound bite?

“Yes, you DID lose your plan, however, it will be replaced by one that is better.”

Civil War Death Benefits

I can’t remember what I was reading, but THIS is amazing:

There are 10 living recipients of benefits tied to the 1898 Spanish-American War at a total cost of about $50,000 per year. The Civil War payments are going to two children of veterans — one in North Carolina and one in Tennessee— each for $876 per year.

Surviving spouses can qualify for lifetime benefits when troops from current wars have a service-linked death. Children under the age of 18 can also qualify, and those benefits are extended for a lifetime if the person is permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before the age of 18.

Citing privacy, officials did not disclose the names of the two children getting the Civil War benefits.

Their ages suggest the one in Tennessee was born around 1920 and the North Carolina survivor was born around 1930. A veteran who was young during the Civil War would likely have been roughly 70 or 80 years old when the two people were born.

That’s not unheard of. At age 86, Juanita Tudor Lowrey is the daughter of a Civil War veteran. Her father, Hugh Tudor, fought in the Union army. After his first wife died, Tudor was 73 when he remarried her 33-year-old mother in 1920. Lowrey was born in 1926.

Lowrey, who lives in Kearney, Mo., suspects the marriage might have been one of convenience, with her father looking for a housekeeper and her mother looking for some security. He died a couple years after she was born, and Lowrey received pension benefits until she was 18.

How COOL is that?

Bold Faced Lie

Obama said that if you were happy with your insurance plan you could keep it.

Democrats knew all along that some patients would lose their health insurance plans under the new law, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) acknowledged on Tuesday.

Although President Obama had vowed repeatedly that, under his signature healthcare initiative, those who like their plans could keep them, millions of patients are reportedly in individual plans that don’t meet the law’s minimum coverage criteria, forcing them to buy better insurance.

Hoyer, the House minority whip, said Democrats were aware that such a shift was coming. He defended the change by arguing that those patients would ultimately benefit by getting better insurance, many of them at a lower price than they currently pay.

The insult that I’m incapable of purchasing insurance that meets my needs aside, they lied.

Obamacare – Shihfting Blame

Barack Obama

Insurance companies are cancelling policies by the hundreds of thousands.

I wonder how long it will take before the official line out of the administration regarding such cancellations is that the law didn’t cancel the policies, rather it’s the insurance companies doing it.

Obama Is Losing His Media Advantage


Since before he was elected, Obama has had a strong ally in the press.  This has allowed him to remain personally popular and likeable all while his policies have proven to be UNpopular.

Perhaps such a relationship is seeing its expiration date:

After emerging from the showdown over the Republican-led government shutdown relatively unscathed, the Obama administration finds itself under assault on three fronts: problems surrounding Obamacare, revelations of the U.S. spying on allies, and the 2012 attack on the U.S diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya — over which a senator has threatened to hold up all of the administration’s nominations.

The controversies are sure to fuel continued Republican attacks on Obama and his Democratic allies as the nation gears up for midterm elections next year, and the White House has portrayed the attacks as so much partisan chatter.

But to CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, they reflect the relative inexperience of the Obama White House.

“This is an administration that has been very, very good at its politics, but has never been very good at execution of policies from Day One,” he said Monday.

“It’s an administration which has some really smart people in it, and a lot of younger people. It doesn’t have very many heavyweights,” he said.

This isn’t news here and was certainly predicted during the first election cycle that Mr. Obama survived.  And, I have to admit, now that he’s President, the fact that he is largely ineffectual may be my most favorite thing about him.

But this ACA rollout is a disaster.  A disaster the likes of which would get an executive in the private secotr fired.

Obamacare – Accountability

Barack Obama

At some point the man in charge has to be held accountable for the success or failure of the organization.


So far, Obama has escaped that.  But this is an interesting metric:

Obama Unaware

83,300 results for “Obama Unaware”.

However you feel about the Affordable Healthcare Act, at some point you have to admit that Obama simply has no clue as to what is going on.

Affordable Care Act – Young People

College Kids

The Affordable Care Act is in the “Open Enrollment” phase.  And for many Americans, it’s the first time that they ‘re shopping for insurance.  And as they go through the process, they’re going to have to make some decisions.  And I get that the whole thing might be overwhelming, I have to shake my head at this analysis:

 Young adults could pay relatively little up front for Obamacare, only to pay a lot later.

They may be more likely to buy cheaper plans on the health care exchanges, but they are often less informed about how high out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, can erase any savings realized from the lower premiums, potentially leaving them with crippling bills, experts told

“I think the exposure is pretty high. It’s way higher than most people are used to,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the health policy research group. “There will be some people who will, for whatever reason, end up getting high-deductible health plans, and I think some of them may not like it.”

Forget, for a second, what “could pay relatively little up front” means.  The fact is that most likely these young folks face two facts:

  1. They weren’t buying insurance before and would be exposed to the same crippling bills.
  2. They are highly unlikely to ever encounter such eventualities.

As for point 1, while they would be exposed to the same crippling costs, at least now that cost is limited.  Anyway, the point is, that people all over creation are forgetting that we are talking about insurance – the protection against risk.

When I was young, my dad would implore me to purchase just such a catastrophic plan.  And now, as I manage young college graduate entering the corporate work force for the first time, I coach them the same way.

Buy the least expensive high deductible plan you can find.  Then, fund an HSA to the max up to or exceeding that deductible.  For the young, the benefits are two fold.

  1. You are fully protected in the event of a life changing financial occurrence.
  2. You have time on your side to grow that HSA.

One last thing.  The article mentions the cost of such a plan:

“I was looking at Texas earlier today,” Pollitz said. “They had a bronze Blue Cross plan that was $250 a month … for a 40-year-old. The bronze had a $6,000 deductible

The cost before the ACA?

Now, how expensive in insurance for a 30 year man in the same ZIP?

The plan that offers $5,000 – 0% -No charge after deductible?


The plan with the lowest deductible that is the cheapest looks like this:

$2,500 – 30% – $40 office visits:

$99.40 a month.

It will be fun to watch this thing as it moves from enrollment to functional plan.