Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Not the Mainstream...

How to comment on this.....??? Transgender bathrooms.

IF, and it is a huge, insurmountable (IMO) IF, we had a way of defining transgender specifically to those that need the liberty to act according to their intended gender, then I would be supportive. What that means is that it is not enough to 'identify' as transgendered, it has to be diagnosed and be medically followed. It is formalized in something called the medical Standards of Care.

The 76 or 98 or 24 'genders' that the Left has pronounced as 'needing recognition' all but eliminates any chance that a rational approach to transgender needs and liberty is possible - certainly not from the Federal Government.

People actively undergoing transition need some protection, but to change the entire society so that 1/10 of 1/10 of the population can be 'safe' is nuts. The current 'open door to claims of trans' leaves a gaping hole in the safety of women and children.

Sorry, but identity politics goes too far when it is perfectly acceptable for a white woman to 'identify as black' and gets LAUDED for doing so...

Do not get into the 'there are only two genders and you are born and will die in the same one' with'll lose.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Comments on Diversity report

A news article on a study about diversity efforts got me into a discussion with a proponent. He argued I needed to read the report, which I did. I am offering the bullet-point commentary here in order to facilitate the discussion.

1. Correlations - not causation
2. Does an all minority firm out perform?
a. None available to determine
b. yes: then the marketplace will deal - more investment in out-performing companies
c. no: is there a tipping point? vs the current level?
3. interior Culture and performance demands different than existing exterior culture norms
4. Affirmative action impact on retention - ie no AA standard in performance kills AA standard in initial hire
5. 170 firms offering info are self-selected. Those with positive results tout, those with negative don't
6. I ABSOLUTELY reject % of population to % within company. failure by absence is not evidence of failure
7. Tech sector is more oriented towards technical competence than personal interaction (personal experience too)
8. Google is going after more STEM support in schools - I absolutely support - but not via affirmative action
9. Knowledge base failure within study: limited data and evidence. as Econ grad, I understand the limits of such a data pool
10. Reports rely upon 'feeling of what seems to be working'
11. A significant study of 700 companies = no positive effect on diversity efforts and may hurt Black women
12. "...efforts to isolate impact of female leadership was inconclusive" BUT LOOK!!! 9% HIGHER VALUATION!!
13. Due to minority population size, areas/fields that aggregate significant minority representation removes diversity from elsewhere
14. Women in STEM has decreased as the # of 'programs' in sociological studies increased...related?
15. What the study calls bias I call animosity - not of hatred but of 'not what I have seen work' bias via work experience (arguably false sometimes.
16. Diversity training = no positive effects so....
17. ...switch to 'unconscious bias training' - but may have same longterm results - NONE. Recall Hawthorne Study.
18. pointed out WIPRO as example - also in my business plan as a foreign competitor
19. regression analysis bar for significance = .10 this is a low bar though not 'significantly' outside the norm. But the study never indicates how FAR over that bar the results were. .11, .15. These are 'noticeable' however, given the sample size, NOT USEFUL.

All in all, the study takes a minor blip and runs like the wind with it.

Other issues. 70% of Black children are born out of wedlock, 60% of Hispanic. And these are long term trends. These populations are NOT going to create a pool of STEM candidates for the industry as a whole. Only the top 1% or less will reach excellence levels necessary for prominent positions in corporations. By the measure of calculating populatio = 30% likely to succeed, you get the 3.5-4% representation of Blacks in the tech workforce.

Diversity in corporations doesn't change culture and diversity in culture is NOT beneficial. Understand I used the term CULTURE.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My idea for health care - from the Proposed Federal Budget

Hospitalization Program

Right now hospitals all over the country are billing patients for services rendered but because Medicare and managed care programs have agreements on reimbursement rates, those hospitals are functioning with approximately 54% of those billed revenues. One way hospitals have dealt with the issue is to have patients spend less time in the hospital. I will not say that hospitals are discharging patients that should still be in the hospital, but I bet it is happening.

With one in five of its elderly hospital patients re-admitted within a month of discharge, the federal Medicare program plans next year to reduce how much it will pay hospitals for certain preventable re-admissions.1

Using information on hospitals in Washington State (, I looked at expenses and patient distribution (mix of inpatient and outpatient emergency).2 Given its general good outcomes, I looked at the actual expenses per patient day (a mixture of case and patient types), how many patients were being seen, the number of beds and the population size that the hospitals serve. The type of hospitals and communities they serve cover rural and urban settings. Generally, Washington is in the middle of most medical spending/outcome metrics. Using the information available, including the number of hospitals and beds per state and averaging the expenses I came up with an alternative to Medicare funding.

Eliminate Medicare funding3? Right now, hospitals are functioning on 54% of the revenues they bill. If hospitals could replace their current billing system and all the administrative expenses associated with Medicare and managed care cost shifting and at the same time have a steady source of income, the net savings could replace the entire contribution of Medicare and state Medicaid funding.

By offering the following and managing a 100% consumer participation rate, hospital systems would receive approximately the same revenue as their average expenses.

On average, each adult pays $140.39 and each child pays $46.80 per month (varies from state to state – See Appendix B).
Premium payment is made to the hospital of the adults choice and could vary from hospital to hospital (allowing for competition).
All hospital care, either outpatient or inpatient is covered 100% for plan members.
Hospitals establish a fixed daily cost for non-plan patients (same for inpatient or outpatient).

However, plan participation is not mandatory and no matter how good the deal, there will be people that won’t, or can’t pay the premiums. The Plan includes a Medicaid grant from the Federal Government set at 25% of the 2010 total expenses for each hospital. The grant requires that the STATE reach an average 75% participation rate to qualify and the grant does not go down if the participation rate is higher. So the hospitals and the states will have an incentive to increase participation rates as high as possible - the grant money can be used to cover unemployed or chronically ill patients. The grant will cost about $117 billion a year. A realistic goal is that on average, participation will be between 80 and 85%. Currently 83.1% have some form of insurance.4

Provider Plan

Like to the Hospitalization plan, doctors and other general health service providers could begin offering a similar plan to their patients. The cost might be as low as $7.25 per month per person5. By creating a plan similar to the Hospitalization Plan, doctors could institute programs to manage illness within their practices and to stabilize costs. A family of four could have a doctor and hospitalization plan for $475 a month. The average premium paid for individual health insurance coverage in the United States in 2011 was $2,196 per year, $183 per month; families paid an average annual premium of $4,968 or $414 per month.6 Because the average health insurance plan has a deductible, an individual would pay $183 a month for the insurance and could still face hospital bills of up to $2,935, or another $245 per month.

The Plan creates incentives for people to participate, for hospitals to manage costs and focus on patient retention and for both parties to manage health care. Consumers have the ability to change hospitals and doctors that fail to live up to their standards or who don’t manage costs well. Because the cost of seeing a doctor or going to the hospital is fixed, patients will have an incentive to see the doctor or go to the hospital before situations become critical. Hospitals and doctors would have incentives to offer wellness programs to lower utilization needs.

As for patients with chronic illnesses, the hospital costs determined above was based on the total of the annual expenses based on their inpatient/outpatient mix. It includes patients that are treated and released and those that spend significant time as inpatient. Because payment for services is not based on specific length of stays, hospitals and doctors can manage their patient’s care for the best outcome rather than billable limits.

For people that do not participate in a plan, the hospitals will offer a fixed cost for outpatient or inpatient care. Insurers may offer plans based on the fixed cost rate, but no one will be able to offer it less expensively than the hospitals. In general, the annual cost would be less than a single day as inpatient or a single trip to the Emergency Room.

For individuals or families that opt only for the Hospitalization Plan, their occasional trip to the doctor would be out-of-pocket as would everyone’s prescription costs. Walmart’s prescription plan has driven the cost down for many people but new, name brand drugs can still be extremely costly. Hospitals and doctors could form purchasing groups for specific drugs that handle chronic illnesses. By putting patients back in control of their medical spending dollar, market forces can help alleviate some of the costs.

We don’t have insurance for oil changes, or replacing tires, bulbs, filters or painting the siding. We maintain our homes and autos, provide the fuel and energy needed to run them. We have car (and homeowners) insurance to protect us from the rare events that cause their destruction or loss. Health insurance that does not consider the age of a person or pre-existing conditions is the same as insurance purchased after the accident or home fire. It is an attempt to share the cost of events, exactly as Medicare does now. The result would be the same under Obamacare except that it mandates, requires, everyone to buy insurance. This is still cost sharing but spread over everyone.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Plan for graduate school

Many years ago I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and was studying economics. I was considering graduate school until I pissed off a professor that would eventually become the Dean of the Department and who's recommendation I would need for grad school. Oh well, choices have consequences.

But prior to that whimpering end to my graduate schools hopes.....I was considering two areas of research.

First: I disliked the way productivity was defined. I wanted to see if there were alternatives that worked better and were more accurate. It was going to be a very technical and highly focused (not likely to see the broader light of day!). But something worthwhile to me.

Second: Innovation was something interesting to me. Why did we have thousands of years of human civilization but it took almost four thousand years to go from the wheel (yes I know it existed prior to that) to the train? To the car? Why did 'innovation' explode in the 1700s and 1800s and absolutely hit hyperdrive in the 1900s?

One factor, to some, strangely, is calories. How much food a population has on a regular and predictable manner. And is there a level? Generally - and I was working on a way to prove it - a population as a whole needs about 1200 calories a day, year round, consistently in order for innovation to begin showing legs.

But is not just calories for the population, there seems to be a necessary amount of population required too. A town of 50 with sufficient food stocks is not anywhere nearly as innovative as a city of 500,000 with the necessary calories.

Of course, the larger the population, the greater the food supply must be.

Finally, there seems to be a need for stress on a population. How much, what type, the source were all things I wanted to look at.

More recently I have looked at another factor. Why is Western Culture generally more innovative? What tends to set it apart?

Anyway, nothing in particular prompted this post. Several minor interactions all lent themselves to recalling what interests me, academically.

Oh, and I THINK I am being told to stop trying to focus on a private project. We will see over the next couple days if that is an accurate reading of the tea leaves...

Wednesday, February 01, 2017


I have promised something on Trump for a while and I have spent time trying to write something without sounding demeaning or dismissive.

Fourteen months ago I said I supported Trump's run for the Presidency. It was a recognition that he was saying what lots of people had been saying for eight years. I thought that if enough people BELIEVED him, he had a chance. There was plenty of evidence to suggest that Trump was a narcissistic opportunist but I had learned back in 2007/8 election season that it isn't enough. Fred Thompson was of the same vein but he quickly fell to the side because, fundamentally, his gut wasn't in it. Running for President IS a narcissist thing - you have to see yourself as THAT KIND OF PERSON to be at the top of humanity. But it takes a corresponding belief in yourself.

I know of arrogance. Many of you that have known me are nodding your head. But the belief in one self has to be as strong as the skill. Thompson didn't have it and the rigors of a campaign (and the virulent hatred from some quarters) was just too much. Trump almost seems to gain strength from both the people that cheer him AND the people that jeer him. I KNOW that opposition doesn't slow me or drain me. It invigorates me.

The Devil doesn't appear to people because 1) it doesn't need to - people will do many evils of their own free will, 2) to do so would prove the existence OF GOD. The old phrase, slightly modified, better to keep quiet and let people doubt than to appear and remove it.

There is NO GREATER validation of a position than able opponents seeking to fight against it. This is a fundamental truth very, VERY few ever understand. And I saw a similar dynamic with Trump. The fight against able opponents is proof. "Belief" in doing the right thing becomes knowledge.

I named this Blog the Moderate Mainstream because I firmly believe that my positions are the same as the 60% of the people in the middle of our society. Twenty percent to the Right, twenty percent to the Left and the vast majority in the middle. And Trump was talking to that majority. But, would they believe him? I wasn't sure, but I was willing to support what he was saying. I joined and worked for the Cruz Campaign because it appeared he was going to be a finalist and of them, I thought the GOP would coalesce around him and forsake Trump. That never happened. The GOP flailed around for five months hating Cruz but hating Trump more. If it had gotten behind Cruz in April, it would have been over for Trump.

I talked to people that had been on the Cruz campaign in NC and IN and the vaunted ground game was an illusion. I saw it in CA, or rather didn't. When he quit, Trump's organization was there and doing things Cruz's never did - it supported THE VOLUNTEERS. It wasn't rah rah Trump, it was, what do you need from us? The hard work and effort by so many on Cruz's campaign was, seemingly, out of devotion to Cruz. The support for Trump was out of agreement with what he SAID. Cruz was the embodiment, Trump was the voice. The distinction is more obvious to me now than it was last May. But I could see results. The only question: Did enough believe what Trump was saying and that he would DO what he said.

As the summer wore on, Trump seemed to relish the fight. Every attack was an opportunity to do battle. The Left called it 'thin skinned' and many on the Right agreed. Afterall, the Left was used to slapping the Right and it was used to turning the other cheek. Here was someone that slapped back EVERY TIME. It shocked the Left and the Right...well, it just wasn't polite. Imagine that people are so prissy that when they get bitch slapped they all but thank and walk away. The way you deal with bullies is that you PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD - EVERY TIME.

The Left has bullied the Right for so long it is the only way they know how to work. Trump demanded a fight. COME ON!!

For people that had been bullied, or seen it happen, Trump wasn't a bully, he was FIGHTING them. Damn! I finally saw that dynamic over the Summer and knew at that point, he would win. The only question was how close would it be? Could the Left's perpetual vote gaming be the deciding factor? I wavered back and forth all Fall. I was sure he COULD win, but not sure he WOULD win.

The interesting thing about the voting booth - people do what is within themselves. I didn't watch or listen to any news until 9pm that night. When they called Florida, I knew.

Everything Trump said, he has done. So far. It can change, might. But not without a fight.

Another truth that seems lost on people: Trump is going to do what is in his best interest. For some reason people think this is bad. His apparent 'best interest' is the same as mine. Doesn't mean you always do what you want. For a couple of decades people said what was good for GM was good for the United States. Trump wants liberty and less government interference in his dealings. He has all the wealth he wants. If he does things in Office that increase liberty and limits government, it benefits him, his family, AND the Moderate Mainstream.

He has tied his well-being with the well-being of the Country. Imagine that. What benefit did it have for the American people to bomb Libya? What benefit did it have for us to reach agreement with Iran? How much of what Obama did benefited him politically at the expense of the United States. How much of what Trump has said has 'hurt' him politically even if it was an 'inconvenient truth'?

The NUMBER ONE position of the Cruz supporters that were NEVER TRUMP (and that is most of them) was the Supreme Court picks. Trump has made his and I don't know ANYONE, nor have I heard ANYONE say the pick was less than 'conservative enough'. It is early. Something might come up in the next weeks to change minds, but I doubt it.

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell better learn one thing fast: when Trump jumps in to battle the bully Left or to fight the good fight, nipping at his heels from the Right will get just as quick and harsh slap from him. Get in line or he is quite willing to let you hang out there by yourself. Does this mean Congress should fall in line? No. Engage Trump 'one on one' to get Congress' point across. Trump doesn't concede, but he will step back out of the ring if you've landed a point. But once the Left is engaged, get behind him or else.

To those on the Left that are just dumbfounded he won - you have been delusional. Most of us never told you that you were - it wasn't worth the trouble and your beliefs didn't matter in the long run. Obama put lie to that, but it was clear he was only setting the table. Clinton would have been the Great Destroyer. Clinton was going to do what SHE WANTED. Libya was all her pushing it.

Donald Trump is not a politician. He is "just an American" that wants to do the right thing. He talks like the Moderate Mainstream. He walks like the Moderate Mainstream. He will govern like the Moderate Mainstream. That will piss off the Left AND the Right. But that is ok. Trump and many of his supporters, like me, relish the fight - not to beat, but to win. Winning is good!

One more thing is yet to be on the table. I hope to see it in the next couple of weeks. It is 'due' next Monday. Trump's Budget Proposal for FY2018. If it is one dime less than last year, it is a gauntlet thrown down with Congress. If Trump wins, the Moderate Mainstream wins.