Friday, March 27, 2015

Wait, they are saying Andreas Lubitz broke up with hi Girlfriend and Thus Crashed the Plane? That is Asinine

This kind of speculation is so stupid.
On Friday, a German newspaper reported that Lubitz, 27, of Montabur, Germany, may have just broken up with his girlfriend. Prosecutors reported he was being treated for a medical illness he kept hidden from his employer, and German newspaper Bild published alleged details of his medical records, including that he had been diagnosed with a “severe depressive episode” in 2009 when he halted pursuit of a pilot’s license.
2009 is quite a while ago so you figure it wouldn't affect him years later like that. Also that medical illness could have been just about anything and doesn't point to depression. The fact that he kept it from his employers means it might just be embarrassing. In any case they need to change the rule so no pilot can be by himself in the cockpit. Have the head stewardess be in there when one of the pilots needs to take a leak or something. Hopefully, this will be the last one of these type of crashes.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It Seems that Democrats who "Worry Greatly" About Climate Change is up Only 4% in 25 Years

This is an interesting statistic according to this article.
Since 1989, there’s been no significant change in the public’s concern level over global warming. To put this in perspective, note that the most expensive public-relations campaign in history—one that includes most governmental agencies, a long list of welfare-sucking corporations, the public school system, the universities, an infinite parade of celebrities, think tanks, well-funded environmental groups and an entire major political party—has, over the past 25 years or so, increased the number of Democrats who “worry greatly” about global warming by a mere four percentage points.
This article goes on to try to figure out why climate change does not resonate even with Democrats. I agree that people might think that the climate is changing but they don't think it will be a calamity. In other words they figure that people can adapt if things get really bad.

All the fear-mongering is not paying off because people aren't really scared anymore. You add to this the fact that some predictions are wildly off like there being no summer polar ice caps by 2013 and people are skeptical. Not of climate change in general but of the remedies for it. Many environmentalists want drastic growth cuts and to keep the Chinese and Indians poor to stave off a calamity that might or might not happen. People seem to be erring on the side of not happening.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Filing Taxes Is a Productivity Drain: But I Didn't Know it was this bad

Wow, what a waste of time and money for Americans.
The real problem with the tax code isn't "fairness." It's the monstrous complexity that costs the country a staggering amount of time and money.
The IRS estimates that Americans spend more than 6 billion hours filing returns. And some put the compliance costs at $300 billion.
More than half of Americans must pay someone to figure out their income taxes — even those earning less than $20,000 a year, according to the Government Accountability Office. More than four in 10 pay someone to file the laughably named 1040EZ.
So you take that 6 billion hours and multiply it by the $16 an hour and you have nearly $100 billion that Americans waste doing this process. You add this to those compliance costs of $300 billion and you have $400 billion it takes to file these returns. This doesn't add all the money people waste paying tax preparers and preparing for audits and other nonsense. All of this work for the government to rake in $3 trillion. 
 
This part is especially annoying:
At the other end of the spectrum, those making less than $30,000 accounted for almost half of the tax returns filed, but paid a mere 1.7% of total federal income taxes.
Why should these people have to even file a tax return if they bring in such a tiny percentage of tax revenue? If it is for Child Tax Credits or something then offer them a different mechanism for collecting this money other than a tax return. Maybe just a check in the mail or a direct deposit. Or even a document that people can send in called a Tax Credit Form. You then use all that enforcement money to prevent fraud when it comes to sending in these Tax Credit Forms.
 

Oh Please Don't let the Germanwings Crash be Terrorism Related: Pilot Locked out of Cockpit by Other Pilot

Here is hoping the pilot left in the cockpit had a heart attack or something. But this sounds pretty ominous.
One of the pilots on the German Airbus plane that crashed in the French Alps, killing everyone onboard, left the cockpit and was unable to return before the plane went down, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing evidence from a cockpit voice recorder.

“The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,” an unnamed investigator told the Times. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.”

“You can hear he is trying to smash the door down,” the investigator added.
So maybe the pilot left in the cockpit stroked out or had a heart attack or something. I mean the plane had a gradual decent for 8 minutes and not a rapid decent so that sounds plausible. 

In any case the stupid 9/11 hijackers caused 150 more deaths. If not for the hijackers on 9/11 we would not need door locks on these planes. At the very least the pilot that left the cockpit would have carried a spare key so he can get back in. Instead he cannot do that in case some terrorist scumbag jumps him and steals the key and then crashes the plane. It looks like the guy that needed to be in there couldn't for whatever reason. That reason will be very important going forward.

Great: The Saudis Might Make Yemen into Proxy Battlefield

It might be the Saudis vs Iran in a proxy battle for Yemen now.
Al-Jubeir said the Houthis "have always chosen the path of violence." He declined to say whether the Saudi campaign involved U.S. intelligence assistance.

He said the Saudis "will do anything necessary" to protect the people of Yemen and "the legitimate government of Yemen."

Hadi's departure illustrated how one of the most important American counterterrorism efforts has disintegrated, leaving the country wide open for what could be a deeply destabilizing proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Saudi announcement only reinforced that notion.
What is really bad is we are going to be cutting a deal with Iran where they have unfettered access to capital to fight their side of the war. You will see the Houthis with heavy weapons and anti-aircraft missiles probably supplied by the Russians. That would mean Saudi ground forces will be mobilized and there will be a shooting war in Yemen between the Sunni and the Shiites. The world has become a much more dangerous place with Obama at the helm.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Apple Takes Aim at Healthcare

They could really shake up the industry if they were able to make FDA trials quicker and more efficient.

When Apple announced, last year, that it was developing a watch that had the functions of a medical device, it became clear that the company was eyeing the $3 trillion health care industry; that the tech industry sees medicine as the next frontier for exponential growth. Apple’s recent announcement of ResearchKit shows that it has an even greater ambition: It wants to also transform the pharmaceutical industry by changing the way clinical trials are done.

Apple isn’t alone. Companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Samsung and hundreds of start-ups also see the market potential — and have big plans.  They are about to disrupt health care in the same way in which Netflix decimated the video-rental industry and Uber is changing transportation.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Headline from the Future: Ted Cruz drops out of Race After Poor Showing in [Insert Early Nominating State Here]

It seems Ted Cruz is the first one with his hat in the ring for the 2016 Presidential Bid. No exploratory committees just jumping in with both feet.
Ted Cruz's official campaign announcement was slow-rolled over the weekend with leaks and, ultimately, at midnight Monday, a tweet.


But on Monday morning, Cruz made his first official opening pitch at a special edition of one of Liberty University's weekly convocations. "I believe God is not done with America yet," he said. "I believe in you and the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America, and that is why today I am announcing that I'm running for president of the United States."
Ugh spare me. He will drop out long before the real GOP nominee is minted but will probably throw a lot of bombs and cause problems on the way out. He will also proclaim the actual nominee that could win is "not conservative enough" and other nonsense. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It Seems that Chemists have Figured Out How Life Began on Earth: Time to Look for these Things in the Stars

This is a pretty interesting study.

The chemists with this new effort believe they have found a way to show that all three arguments are both right and wrong—they believe they have found a way to show that everything necessary for life to evolve could have done so from just , hydrogen cyanide and ultraviolet light and that those could have all existed at the same time—in their paper, they report that using just those three basic ingredients they were able to produce more than 50 nucleic acids—precursors to DNA and RNA molecules. They note that early meteorites carried with them ingredients that would react with nitrogen already in the atmosphere, producing a lot of . By dissolving in water, it could have very easily come into contact with hydrogen sulfide, while being exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun. And that, they claim, would have been all that was needed to get things going. 
So time to look for those three things on any planet that Astronomers are scanning. If you get them all at once then there might be a chance that there is basic life on that planet. Also I wonder if you can get these things together and create your own "life?" Sounds kind of creepy actually.

Elizabeth Warren is #OnePercent with $5 Million in the Bank with No Debt Which is Good: However she wants to Raise Taxes: Um No

It is good that she hates debt and does not have any to her or her husbands name.
This is the root cause of Elizabeth Warren’s lifetime conviction that banks (and, more broadly, businesses) are out to trick and cheat average hard-working families. The childhood fear of poverty not only distorted Warren’s views on private enterprise, but keeps Warren from borrowing money herself. The most recent review of her finances shows that she and her husband are one percenters, holding assets of more than $5 million, but that they owe not a dollar of debt.
That is very admirable and I hope more people follow her lead. Nobody has ever gone bankrupt from having too much equity or collecting too many dividends. Debt is corrosive and only works if you are buying a house or in some cases a car. For everything else debt is a bad thing. However this part of Elizabeth Warren does not fly with me:
Warren, like President Obama, believes the deck is stacked against the middle class. She belittles the contributions of business owners, and tells them “part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” To level the playing field, she wants higher taxes and more and better regulations – and not just on banks. Not only is the language achingly clich├ęd, the approach is – after two terms of unchecked regulatory spread – exceedingly dangerous.
More taxes on the rich or businesses are not paid by the rich or by businesses. These taxes are either dodged by the One Percent like Warren or passed on to consumers like businesses do. Then we have regulations that probably make it tougher for small businesses to do business. So companies like Uber fall away because the Taxi Union doesn't like how they are stealing their business.

I Like the Colts Proposed Rule Change: Go for Three!

I like this idea but it would make things very interesting.
Colts proposing if go for 2 points after TD and make it, can attempt bonus kick for 9th point from midfield.
So you make the 2 point conversion and then kick a 50-yarder you have the chance for a 9 point swing. You add in the on-side kick and a team can potentially make a double digit scoring move in the waning minutes of a game. The chances of everything happening is pretty low but a potential of 12 points (if they recover the onside kick and hit another long field goal) would make for an exciting last few minutes of a game. 

I Agree with Liz Mair former Scott Walker Staffer: Why is Iowa the First State to Start the Presidential Process?

I never understood why Iowa goes first in the Presidential process and it seems to have cost this woman her job.

Liz Mair, who was a digital strategist for Walker, came under a storm of criticism for her advocacy of some relatively liberal policy positions and colorful tweets that critics said were insulting to Iowans.

"In other news, I see Iowa is once again embarrassing itself, and the GOP, this morning. Thanks, guys," Mair wrote of a January event hosted by conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), according to the Associated Press. "The sooner we remove Iowa's front-running status, the better off American politics and policy will be."
I have to agree with her assessment. It should be several states at the beginning of the race for President. Maybe take one western state (Washington or Oregon because California is too big,) one Midwestern state (might as well keep Iowa,) one southern state (maybe Tennessee or Kentucky,) and one eastern state (Maybe Rhode Island or keep New Hampshire) and have them all run their straw polls and elections and such on the same day. You still get the weed out process among candidates but it isn't about just crisscrossing Iowa and promising increased farm subsidies. You have to appeal to a broader swath of Americans and hopefully we get a better candidate on both sides that way.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Great: It Seems that Employer-Provided Health Insurance is Going the Way of the Pension Plan

It looks like everyone is going on the Obamacare exchanges if this guy is right.
Rick Lindquist, president of Zane Benefits, which specializes in individual health insurance reimbursement for small businesses, says: Not only could it happen; it’s happening already.

Lindquist and Paul Zane Pilzer (who founded Zane Benefits), argue that case in their new book, “The End of Employer-Provided Health Insurance.” As surprising as you may find the title, get a load of its subtitle: “Why It’s Good for You, Your Family and Your Company.”
This is how Company Insurance is going to be in the post Obamacare era:
The easiest way is to provide a stipend. In your paycheck, you might get $500 a month as your health insurance stipend. The problem is that money is taxable; it’s not like group health insurance.

At Zane Benefits, we have a solution to that. We establish a formal reimbursement program that complies with federal tax rules. We say: There’s $500 a month but you only get it if you buy coverage and prove you bought it.

The key is that you can have whatever you want when you shop on the individual market. And now you’re required to be an educated consumer.
However, it will probably put quite a few people into Bronze plans with their draconian co-pays. That will not be good for many consumers and there will probably be a backlash. Most employees have fairly decent plans purchased through the heft of the companies they work for. With that purchasing power stripped away consumers might be at the mercy of insurance companies.

According to this a platinum plan is $436 a month so a $500 stipend would cover it. However, the max out of pocket is $4000 for a single and $8000 per family. That is a huge amount when co-pays are fairly low on employer provided plans. I can see people postpone getting health care for little junior because they don't have $8000 saved in case that their bill is that massive. The Bronze plan's copay is $12,700 for a family plan and that would probably eat up quite a few emergency funds in a big gulp. Maybe providing a copay loan is a lucrative new business for some banks to get into. 


It Seems that College isn't about only the Elite University: Unless you want to be on the Supreme Court

This is an interesting book to get people to not be so stressed about getting a kid in an Ivy or other elite university.
It doesn’t, according to Frank Bruni. The New York Times columnist is author of a new book coming out on Tuesday, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be.

The book is a quick read for stressed-out students and their parents. In it he has plenty of examples and lengthy stories of Americans of all ages and from all walks of life who have found success without degrees from brand-name universities. Bruni points out, for instance, that among the American-born chief executives of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500, just about 30 went to an Ivy League school or equally selective college. (Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, graduated from my alma mater, Ithaca College, and unlike many other top executives never got an MBA).
In some ways I trust people more that went regular schools especially when they are passionate about them. I love it when you meet someone that went to Ohio State or Oregon and it becomes a part of their everyday life. It gives you a sense of camraderie if you went to a Big 10 or Pac 12 school as well.

I just don't like how if you want to be President or Supreme Court justice you have to have went to either Yale or Harvard. I mean Hillary went to Yale Law School. At least Jeb Bush went to University of Texas and Scott Walker didn't finish college at Marquette. I just rather vote for someone that went to any other school by Yale or Harvard.