Friday, May 31, 2013

TGIF for all of those for whom the weekend is a significant break in work patterns.  For the rest, hope your Friday is pleasant.  The weather people say heat and probable thunderstorms.  We only got about a third of an inch over the last day--not enough to keep my large plants happy.  Just enough to make gardening a matter of sneaking out between the raindrops to pull a weed or too.

Glad you like my pics, Kay.  The gardens are doing pretty well.  I will be really happy if the weather cooperates but we know how that goes.  The lavender that survived the 2011/13 winter and came back lush last year didn't make it through this just past winter.  As I read somewhere "Man plans; God laughs" and Nature has been very bitchy over the last few years.

So much of our economics and politics is smoke and funhouse mirrors, Kay.  Unfortunately, the ones trying to control those areas each think what they see is real and that they can truly control such complex systems.

Our WTF!?? moment during the morning news came when we heard the news reader say that "Americans" have regained almost all of the "wealth" they had lost with the Great Recession.  Ezra Klein shreds the argument without any of the profanity we expressed.  Which Americans and what wealth?  If you are talking about the top couple of percent of the economic pyramid, maybe--but they aren't all of us.  If you are talking about paper (i.e., stocks and bonds) wealth, maybe--but not all of us have stocks and bonds.  First, that only becomes real 'wealth' when it is sold and converted into cash.  Second, those of us who had most of our wealth in our homes are still mostly screwed.  More smoke and funhouse mirrors.

One for the "It might not be as eco-friendly as we thought" file.  Generating power from sunlight sounds like a good idea--until we apply industrial methods.  A farm more eco-friendly idea would have been to fit those 75k homes (the ones the solar 'farm' is designed to power) with individual combined solar/wind systems.  But then there wouldn't be any continuing profits to a private power generating company.  Can't have than, can we?

Another sign of how times have changed.  My first comment when I heard the teaser for the story on last night's news was "I guess they are planning on using free lancers and citizens with cell phone cameras."  I learned photography in the Navy when it was done with non-digital cameras, film, and chemicals.  I never did it professionally but I always enjoyed photos that showed someone's true skill.  I even managed to produce a few of that kind.  Like most of us I have shifted to digital cameras and image manipulating software.  Believe me it isn't the same.

Talk about smoke and funhouse mirrors--or, as I thought when I saw this the first two times today, Potemkin villages.  We wouldn't want to disturb the delicate sensibilities of G8 leaders with reality would we.

I read the title of this post on The Agonist and thought "Oh, they've got a vaccine for that?" For a change someone was thinking more viciously than I normally do.

I have seen several stories recently about doctors refusing to take any form of insurance.  Here is one I just found.  For some time I have thought that third party payers are a major mover behind rising medical costs.  Not because of simple greed though that does enter into it in some cases.  Rather because of the wall that third party places between the provider of the medical service and the recipient of it.  Neither of the doctor nor the patient have much control of amount paid.  That is the function of the insurer.  I read one story where one of the doctors recounted the maze of paperwork that required dedicated employees to handle and the time lost dealing with denied claims and other such matters.  That doctor was able to streamline his paperwork, reduce his staff and spend more time with his patients while charging less.

On the matter of insurance this little item attracted my notice and I am sure that the sentiments aren't limited to Canada.  Our tornado season is making up for lost time and the costs are escalating.  The main point with both disaster insurance and health insurance is that the companies are profit-making businesses.  So the costs have to be passed on or made up somewhere.  They will charge their customers more in premiums, restrict what those premiums will pay for, or limit what they will pay the providers of the services involved.  In the end the insured party has to pay for all.  It might be better to pay the providers directly and cut out the middle men.

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