Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pray you do not get sick, Deplorables II

So the nominee for secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Tom Price, thinks Obamacare interferes in a bad way with the doctor-patient relationship. Price is a surgeon.

I wonder what he thinks about the current system.  Earlier this month I had to make 3 time-consuming and costly trips downtown to pick up and return a recording oxygen meter for my wife. Her doctor thinks she needs oxygen; she thinks she needs oxygen.

Their opinion counts for nothing. The decision whether her insurance (not Obamacare) will pay for it is made by a clerk with no medical training.

1. The Republican Party does not support a minimum wage of $15; it is not clear whether the tea party wing (of which Price is an ornament) believes in a minimum wage law at all.

2. Price's alternative to Obamacare is tax credits for purchasing private medical insurance.

3. As Mitt Romney famously complained, close to half of Americans make so little money (see point 1 in this summary) that they owe little or no tax.

4. A tax credit for a person not subject to tax is worth $0.00. (For people like Price it will be worth anything up to $1.00 per $1.00; a pattern emerges.)

Enjoy paying all your medical bills out of current income or savings, Trumpeters.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Is an itch a tickle?

Humor is hard to do. Consider the 2016 Ignobel Prize in Medicine, which went to German scientists who discovered (in 2013) that if an itch is induced in one forearm, having the sufferer watch himself in a mirror while scratching the like spot on the other arm will bring substantial relief.

While the idea is amusing the implications seem serious enough. Really, the only funny part was the speculation as to the mechanism:

This effect might be due to a transient illusionary intersensory perceptual congruency of visual, tactile and pruriceptive signals.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


In 1985 I was in Manhattan for a convention. The people I was with were anxious to look at Trump Tower, which was fairly new. They also wanted to see Bijan, a shop in the tower that sold $250 neckties.  I had no interest in either but went along with my group.

If I had any expectations, they were for, at least, an impressive interior space like the ones John Portman had introduced in the '70s in Atlanta. I was surprised to find that the entrance room to the tower was so dinky. Other than that, I have had no contact with Trump taste in building.

Now it cannot be avoided. news photographs of Trump's meeting with Prime Minister Abe show us his living room.

Garish doesn't begin to describe it. I thought, where have I seen the like for a political leader? Oh, yeah, Saddam Hussein.

However, when I looked up a photograph of Saddam's living room it was, comparatively, a model of taste and restraint.

I feign no hypotheses, but it is surprising.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

'Transparent flapdoodle'

I regret I never used that phrase in any of the stories I wrote in my newspaper days. Bravo, Michael
Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times.

He is exactly right about the 'Spirit-ualization' of the airlines, especially United.  Fortunately for me, my travel patterns have changed and I won't have to fly United any more. Not such good news for Hawaii tourism, however, which still depends a lot on United.

It makes you wonder whether American business managers understand who gives their businesses money.

Although I believe that good ol' 'Murican racism accounts for about 98% of Trump's electoral success, I also believe that a part of his personal -- as opposed to his policy -- appeal came from his habit of stiffing people who he hired. Democrats, who believe in an honest day's pay for an honest day's work, thought those stories would hurt him.

What they didns't get was the boiling rage of the American consumer who has a choice of buying crap from China or other crap from China, and if it breaks on the second use, there's no one to complain to. Or, if it's a service business (like his cable provider), he has to endure the humiliation of complaining to a brown person in India who speaks 'Murican with a lilting accent and reads from a script and is prevented form actually doing anything for him.

What the individualistic 'Murican wants to do is to tell all those businesses that don't give a hoot about him or his satisfaction to stuff it, he ain't payin'. Of corse, he's afraid to do it. Credit rating and all.

But he likes to watch Trump do it.

But he loves to see Trump do it.

Who is most likely to murder you?

1. A Muslim terrorist

2. A Christian terrorist

3. The gun nut boyfriend that your co-worker just broke up with.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pray you do not get sick, Deplorables

The most unhappy of all Americans following Trump’s victory will be Republican congressmen who for the past 7 years have been declaring Obamacare a disaster and voting every two months to repeal it.

Now they can and replace it with something better, as so often promised.


Trump suggests health savings accounts, a favorite idea from the ‘70s that never worked. (I had a version of one once.)

I realize that Trump voters are lost when higher mathematics kicks in (anything beyond what they can count with their socks off), but consider this:

One day in a hospital room costs upwards of $15,000.

The average family in Oxycontinland makes maybe $600 a week.

Let us say they save 10% of their gross pay.

Solve for how many weeks they must save (each week incurring no medical expenses to draw down their savings balance) in order to afford one day of hospital care. Express your answer in years.