Friday, August 8, 2008

Job losses are behind retail profit fall

Retail sales were down for the last quarter. This reflects downturns in the labor market.

What many in the pro-business camp fail to realize about business, is that labor is the true fundamental for improved business.

Here's why: You can have all the capital in the world, but if you don't have labor and qualified labor to process that capital into products for the economy, then that capital is worthless.

There's been a false dichotomy for years in our political discourse. Your either pro-business OR pro-labor.

You cannot have business without labor. It's that simple.

Labor may need management, but it still remains the raw material upon which business much work.

I've said all that, to say this: Unless a concerted effort to buttress jobs (viz., Labor) occurs, business will continue to decline.

Police kill Mayor's dogs, but refuse to admit mistake

Here's a sad story about a Mayor and his family in Maryland.

The police burst in without announcing themselves, shot his two dogs, handcuffed him, arrested him and his wife.

It turns out they made a mistake.

The mistake is obvious, but the police are admitting no wrongdoing.

I find it hard to listen to the police complain about how hard they have it, when they literally "screw up" this badly and then deny their mistake.

Someone needs to lose their job over this. Unless public servants begin to suffer personally for such disasters in judgment, then there will be little incentive to improve their performance.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

CDC reports that ER waits growing longer--We need to change the incentives

Here's yet another statistic that points to a broken health care system.

The free market approach to saving lives currently used is failing miserably.

Furthermore, it's immoral to place people's lives at risk for the sake of profit. Why is that ignored in the calculus?

We need socialized health insurance.

We could even throw some incentives in, like capping malpractice claims for doctors who treat those for covered medical procedures and expenses. Such a plan would incentive-ize doctors and hospitals to provide as many covered services as possible to get the liability shield.

Madeleine McCan possibly taken by a pedophile ring.

This stuff makes my blood boil.

These perverts had better not get caught. I suspect that their lives would be forfeit to an angry mob if they do get caught. Rightly so.

How anyone could justify their own selfish urges at the expense of a child sickens me.

If I every caught someone doing this sort of thing, they had better have the police to protect them.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mental health system rewards wrong things and undermines best patient interest

This article from Live Science points to the impact of economic incentives on mental health treatment.

Psychiatrists are trained to treat people with drugs, but also with therapy.

The shrinks make more money by seeing more patients. Psychotherapy takes time and thus reduces the actual number of patients seen.

Insurance companies make matters worse for patients (and provide further disincentives to shrinks) by refusing to pay for "talk therapy".

There are talk therapies that are 90% effective at treating some disorders, but those are disfavored because talk therapy "takes too long."

See my point about our health care system incentive-izing the wrong things?

This is yet another example of how our health care system is broken and rewards the wrong things.

Iraq can pay for reconstruction, but our government prefers that the U.S. taxpayers foot the bill

Here's a serious problem.

One of the selling points of the Iraq War was that oil revenues would be used to rebuild the country from the damage.

Apparently, that isn't happening. Instead, the American Taxpayer is footing the bill.

I have to ask: if Republicans are so opposed to taxes, why are they so damn earnest at putting the U.S. so far in the red that our dollar is worth squat and that taxes will be necessary to get us out?

This is wrong and it's time the Iraqis start paying the tab.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Movement conservatives are being shown the door by America

Leave it to a Progressive to hit the nail on the head when it comes to the conservative movement.

Regardless of whether you agree with him or not, the problems facing the Reaganites will not go away just by wishing. You can't stand on a train track, back to an oncoming train and believe yourself out of getting hit by the train.

Ideology does much in the way of fueling a movement, but it sacrifices pragmatism when it goes too the neoconservatives and Reaganites.

Valid points.

David Zucker has traded one ideology for another in an intellectually dishonest move.

Here's an interesting article about a Hollywood big wig that's changed his ideological stripe from liberal to conservative.

David Zucker brought us some classic comedy movies, cf, Airplane, Naked Gun, etc.

Now, it seems that Zucker now believes Democrats are a scourge. Especially after 9/11. This sounds strangely similar to Ron Silver's conversion to right-wing politics after New York was hit on 9/11. (You rememeber Ron Silver, the liberal actor that conservatives hated until he spoke at the 2004 Republican convention?)

Zucker struck up a friendship with Dennis Prager, a conservative talk radio dude.

Here's what I see.

Zucker is not unlike those 60's liberals who think they MUST have an ideology in order to be political.

That's a mistake. Here's why.

Ideology carries with it certain blindspots to the actual reality. This applies to both liberal and conservative ideologies alike.

For example: How can conservatives supporting Bush blame liberals for all the shenanigans of the Bush administration? They can't, but rather than acknowledge it, they stick their heads in the sand and give Bush a pass, since he represents the conservative ideology in the political sphere.

I agree with Zucker's irritation with Democrats after 9/11. But, my irritation with Democrats doesn't mean I should jump in bed with the other side. To do so shows a dearth of intellectual depth and a susceptibility to ideology.

My issues with the Democrats remain (spineless more often than not), but if the alternative it to support the Republicans (feckless more often than not), as the Dennis Pragers of the world would have us, then that's not much of a choice--in fact it's a Hobson's Choice, meaning that it's no real choice at all.

This is the problem with ideology and the simplistic thinking from the 60's--Everything is black or white, everything is either up or down, and liberal or conservative. That ignores the complexity inherent in modern political life.

Here's what I say to that: I actually use my brain and can see that the world has degrees and shades of gray.

Ideology works best for those without much of a brain or for those who are too blind to their own limitations. This applies Zucker (and Ron Silver...) if he cannot see the real complexity in the world.

PETA and newly-converted vegetarians.

While I'm on the pet peeve path, I might as well get another one off my chest.

PETA and all recent converts to vegetarianism.

Some background: I've been a vegetarian since the age of 18. That's 21 years and counting. I've finally reached that point where the thought of eating meat grosses me out. I'll probably be a vegetarian for the rest of my life.

I'm a vegetarian for ethical reasons. Namely, I don't think I should eat something that I won't kill and clean myself. I don't kill animals because I don't have the ability to create another living creature, so I better not be messing something up that I can't fix.

Being a vegetarian has brought on a lot of grief. Early on, I was an asshole about my lifestyle choices, expecting everyone to cater to my particular worldview.

I'm more tolerant now. I don't want others dictating my life, so I don't think it correct for me to dictate to them on their choices, poor though they may be.

Here's my beef with PETA: PETA is to vegetarianism as the NRA is to guns. Both may have valid points, but both organizations are whack jobs.

I'm a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment and I exercise my rights. As for PETA, their antics serve to alienate the shit out of people--vegetarians included.

PETA takes the extreme position that everyone should bend to their worldview. I beg to differ. I'm perfectly capable of finding the truth on my own and don't need some ideological nimrods whose agenda excises any sense they may have had, telling me right from wrong.

Making matters worse is that by being a vegetarian, I get lumped in with the likes of PETA when non-vegetarians find out. The inevitable questions as to the why's and wherefore's of my lifestyle choices come flying.

PETA, by their actions, does not want to change people's minds. They want to piss people off so they can start a fight that they can't win. How moronic is that?

On to my next gripe: A couple of years ago I went to the home of a recently converted vegetarian. The point of my visit was to help set up her grill and to enjoy some company. Well, when I broke out my vegetarian hot dogs, I got an earful on how it was wrong to eat something that looked like meat and probably tasted like meat, even though it wasn't meat.

I was dumbstruck. What the hell? Here I was, a 20 year vegetarian being lectured by a woman who was a newly-minted vegetarian on my choice to eat a tofu pup? Give me a break.

What reeked of irony was the fact that I cooked them on her grill that I just assembled. It's not okay to eat soysage, but it's okay to have a grill whose main purpose is to cook raw meat?

Somehow, the whole PETA agenda has moved into fake meat products. How is that harmful to animals? The argument goes: By eating fake meat, I've not really given up meat and my love for it. Huh?

Ideologues are morons.