How to Frame Healthcare

We start this morning with a quick glance at how the online implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is doing.  Specifically, the AP headline “Online Delays Signal Strong Demand for Healthcare” stuck me as un-AP-like since it conveys a subtle form of paradigm pandering.

Let me explain: While it may be true that there is “strong demand for health care” as the article represents, there are a couple of other explanations which are entirely credible and which should have resulted in a more balanced headline like “Online Delays for Healthcare.”

You see, the “strong demand” part could easily have been driven by healthcare expenses – which in my personal case have gone from $267/287 in 2010 to $450 today and that’s after dropping dental in the process.  Americans shop like crazy and maybe this is just bargain hunting.

Or, to propose an alternative headline:  “Screwed over public anxious for cheaper healthcare” might also fit.

Higher probability?  Since government seems to be big on lowest priced bids to build-out this and that – it might also be a true headline if written “Online Delays signal poor computer code and implementation…”  Been there, done that, with failures and collisions on the COM layer.  And how do you load-balance a whole country on a server farm?

While we are sitting here five days from our next (high statistical probability) mass killing/public outrage which will spin public discussion off the government shutdown and Obamacare for a week, or two, it would be nice to see such reliable organizations as the AP pay a bit more attention to paradigm-selling headlines, although we’re mindful that the leash of access is easily tugged-on inside the beltway, to be sure.

Another Questionable Congressman

CNS News asked congressman Henry Waxman the other day whether he had read all 10,535 pages of Obamacare regulations which has been published in the Congressional Record. 

“Is it Important that I Read It?” came the petulant reply, along with labeling the inquiry as a “Propaganda question” according to the CNS report.

I’ve made a note to call my congressman’s office, to see if I can’t get UrbanSurvival read into the Congressional Record.  That way, even more people won’t read it.

Seriously, or nearly so, the Washington cult of illiteracy (don’t read bills, don’t read the C.R.) really ought to change. 

Virginia is for Lovers….Surveillance!

While such commentary as above is at least momentarily protected by free speech, we note that Virginia is now making up a master database to handle all records of people in the state.

More after this

Jobs and Economic Reality

Just out from Challenger this morning is the planned layoffs report for September:

CHICAGO, October 3, 2013 – Planned job cuts fell to their lowest level in three months, as U.S.-based employers announced plans to reduce payrolls by 40,289 in September. That was down 20 percent from August, when job cuts reached a six-month high of 50,462, according to the latest report on monthly job cuts released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy
Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The September total was 19 percent higher than the 33,816 planned job cuts announced the same month last year. This marks the fourth consecutive month that saw heavier job cutting than a year ago.

And no, this has nothing to do with the government (15%) shutdown.

As the shutdown continues, we notice the Daily Caller has a list of “Seven stupid things the gov’t spent money on during the shutdown…”  And in another outing, turns out the Obama administration ordered the park and monument closings.  Bad form.

But both sides are guilty of misrepresentations, near as I can figure it, and this morning the GOP moderates are trying to figure out where to go next.

Say, here’s an idea: Home.

Markets and Outlook

Indecisive as the Dow futures are down a tad, gold and silver are pulling back, and everyone seems to be waiting to see if the skies will part and solutions to our financial misdeeds will fall out of the sky.

In a word:  Nope.

There’s so much hope and denial about lately, you can almost shovel the stuff.

I wonder if hard reality will sink in tomorrow morning when the monthly unemployment rate confessional is due.  If it doesn’t come out, will that break the back of the market bubble?  Or, will the report showing up mean that the “shutdown” is not really the End of the World?

Join us tomorrow for the next exciting episode of….yada, yada…

Silk Road Shutdown

The purported online drug and illegal services website has been seized by DEA/ IRS.

That oughta save you a few bucks, huh?  Also show life goes on in government despite the “shutdown.”

Seriously…also seized was $3.6 mill in bitcoins…and that ought to be interesting when comes to trial.

But then again, I’ve told you how many times?  “Bitcoin gains are taxable just like anything else.” despite the purple haze crowd wishing it weren’t so.  We like to err on the side of caution and compliance, preferring 30-acres to 8 by 12 feet, if you know what I’m saying.

If you own a SWAT Team, you can set tax policy, but for now, you don’t.

Bittering the Waters

In case you were making plans to visit Japan, you might want to read the article over at The Extinction Protocol about how removing the fuel rods from Fukushima could be 15,000 times worse in radiation terms than Hiroshima

Not that such trifling’s would put off seasoned travelers like Elaine and me.  It’s just we’ve pushed back our reservations by 28,000 years.  But think of the long-ferment soy sauce that could be brewed!

Iran “Goes West Virginia”

OK, it’s a terrible stereotype about everyone in West Virginia is a second cousin, but  reader Madison Avenue Mike caught this headline in the UK Daily Mail which reads: “Iran passes a law allowing men to marry their 13-year-old adopted daughters just as the country’s new president touts himself as a moderate.”

Our best attempt at humor?  “I guess everything is relative, isn’t it?

Disruptive Technology Dept.

Our news analyst up in Winnipeg has found a real jewel this morning:

Dear Mr. Ure,

The day may be coming when you can accessorize with 4D printing for your minimalist wardrobe

If you’re not completely up to speed on the xD printing revolution, it began with 2-dimensional printing (height and width, as on paper), then added the depth dimension (such that metal and plastic and now be printing in 3D and according to the University of Pittsburgh site…

“Thanks to an $855,000 grant from the United States Army Research Office, the team hopes to develop 4D materials, which can exhibit behavior that changes over time.

And by change over time, I don’t think they mean simply break which most things sort of do anyway. 

Toss in the ability to “print” food (yep, food printers are in the development stage) and you come up with a world that not only doesn’t need humans, but a world where the machines really do control everything…

Supervising Social

You know kids acting badly on the internet is a real social issue when it lands on the GQ website.  Here’s a dandy article on how to deal with kids and social media

While it works for some social media – the ones parents know about – it is only a matter of time till the most precocious figure out that many of the fringe and deviant kinds of sites are not likely to be followed (or even known about) by mom or dad.  Well, mom, anyway…