Friday, November 22, 2013

Final 2012 Election Analysis

I did a regression analysis of the 2012 election results by county versus demographics and economic conditions and the results were for the most part exactly what one would have expected. Since 2012 was an unusual election because the total vote count decreased from 2008, I specifically analyzed the change in voter turnout between 2008 and 2012 versus demographics and economic conditions.

Gender – No surprise here, men broke for Republicans and women broke for Democrats. However, the results were inconclusive for statistical significance when gender was broken down into economic variables such as poverty and employment rate.

Age – Surprisingly, most of the data was inconclusive for any statistical significance between varying age groups. Hard to believe but some young female age groups favored Republicans with strong statistical significance while some older male age groups favored Democrats with strong correlation. The converse was also true. In other words, the data was all over the place. Age groups were broken down into 5 year or smaller increments between 18 to over 85.

Food Stamps – People on food stamps voted Democratic.

Ethnicity – Whites voted Republican while Hispanics and African Americans voted Democratic.

Income – People with higher household incomes voted Republican.

Family – Married couples voted Republican and single families broke for the Democrats.

Education – Democrats did well with those having less than a high school diploma and those with a bachelor’s or better degree. Republicans did better with everything in between.

Economy – For the most part there was no specific statistical significance with the economy and the change in voter turnout. Other than food stamps, there was no significant data indicating an advantage to Republicans and Democrats for either employment or poverty status.

Independents – Their voting trends tracked closer to Republicans than Democrats. However, this data was only analyzed on about half the counties nationwide within states that release data on the ideological breakdown of the voting populous.

From this data, the key to Obama winning the 2012 election was not only the White vote staying at home, but the increase in the food stamp payrolls. The food stamp payrolls include many people above poverty and that worked in his favor to win votes and to get his electorate to the polls. The Republicans were able to cut Obama’s margin of victory from 2008 in half mostly due to more Independents breaking with the Republicans. Republicans lost because they were unable to make Obama pay for the stagnant economy as there is no evidence that employment status played a part in the election outcome.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Joke that is Obama and ObamaCare (Part II)

Now that the media and Democrats have turned on the President, Obama, as he has done so many times in the past, has moved unilaterally to declare the “keep your plan” mandate in ObamaCare will be delayed a year. There are, of course, many problems with this approach that even a simpleton would understand. First, this once again, puts the onus on private insurance companies to undue years-worth of changes. Remember, private insurance companies were ready for ObamaCare implementation. It was the government that was not on time. Once again, this is liberaisml 101 at its best – punish the people that are most accountable in society. Secondly, there is nothing in the Constitution that provides the president or the executive branch the right to a line item veto. In other words, without congressional approval, the President cannot change any part of any law, including ObamaCare. Remember, Obama has already moved unilaterally in the past by delaying the corporate mandate of ObamaCare by a year. And what’s even more troubling is the President has threatened to veto any “keep your plan” fix passed in a bipartisan manner by congress. In other words, only his unconstitutional unilateral mandate is acceptable. Thirdly, the President’s move to delay the “keep your plan” mandate will only work to place more tax burden on the American public to pick up the tab for ObamaCare’s inability to sign people up for health insurance exchanges.

This is politics at its best folks. The only reason why Democrats are scared at this juncture is we just moved within a year of the midterm election cycle. And obviously, Democrats up for re-election are the ones who are most afraid of the ObamaCare consequences.

I have been saying for a long time now that Republicans should let Obama, Democrats, and the American public “eat their cake”. Although I am suffering with outrageous health insurance premium hikes, I am willing to suffer so the rest of America can see what the consequences of liberalism on them. Until people feel the pain of ObamaCare and liberalism, they will continue to vote for bad candidates. Liberals will care once they are affected by ObamaCare policies – it is in their DNA.

Even if the “like your plan” fix is implemented, in a year we will still be in the same boat except it will only be worse. Why will it be worse? Even as millions are given the opportunity to plan ahead for losing their health plans, millions more will be surprised to find out they will be losing their plan because of the corporate mandate. Corporations will drop healthcare for spouse and for employees and elect to pay the fine because it is much cheaper.

Let’s face facts, the ultimate goal of the ObamaCare is to enroll as many people as possible on government run healthcare exchanges. Liberals are pushing forward to obtain the ultimate goal – a one payer system run solely by our federal government, and in particular the untrustworthy IRS and HHS.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Joke that is Obama and ObamaCare (Part I)

Let’s reconstruct what has transpired over the past couple of months once ObamaCare implementation began:

First, there was a government shutdown and Obama would not negotiate with Republicans. Ted Cruz and Republicans were made out to be the villains by the media and they took the brunt of the blame. The government shutdown may have been the most likely culprit in costing the Republicans the governor’s race in Virginia (IMO, since many affected by the shutdown live in DC suburbs in Virginia). What did Republicans want from the President and Democrats – at a minimum they would have liked to have delayed the implementation of ObamaCare by one-year. If Obama agreed to this the government would have reopened sooner. Instead, Obama and liberals alike made the Republicans out to be obstructionists, terrorists, extremists, and a few other niceties.

All that being said, during the government shutdown many of the flaws of ObamaCare began to surface as the law opened for business. First, the government website was a total disaster and could not enroll anyone into the healthcare exchanges because it could not handle any volume without crashing. What’s worse, people navigating the website as government employees could be convicted felons and the security of the site was non-existent placing thousands of Americans at risk for identity theft. Secondly, no one was enrolling into any exchanges and the few that were enrolling were already sick and in need of healthcare. In other words, the young healthy people needed to make the system solvent were not enrolling. Thirdly, millions of Americans across the country began to receive notices that there insurance plans were being dropped because they did not meet ObamaCare guidelines. This was contrary to hundreds of promises made by Obama and Democrats that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period!” After all this, the stubborn liberals refused to delay ObamaCare and kept the government shutdown.

Fast forward a month later and the Democrats were preaching a different message and story. They urged the President to fix the “keep your plan” promise. What made Democrats change their minds so quickly? The most important change in events was the media. After the government shut down, the liberal lie that Americans can keep their health insurance plans was the main topic – even on liberal media outlets. Why did this story gain traction where other administration scandals such as Fast and Furious, IRS targeting, Benghazi, EPA targeting, and DOJ targeting could not? The main reason is simply because many liberals are being affected by the ObamaCare lie that Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it - including many media pundits. Liberals only care about something when it affects them negatively. The other scandals did nothing to affect liberals negatively and the fact these scandals mostly affected conservatives negatively, well that is acceptable. As Hilary Clinton said about Benghazi “What does it matter!” Sure, what does it matter that a few hundred Mexicans died due to Fast and Furious and what does it matter a few people died in Benghazi? After all, it did not affect a plurality of liberals. But now, millions of liberals may be out of luck with their health insurance plans and be forced to pay more when they enroll in health care exchanges.

Friday, November 15, 2013

ObamaCare Working Exactly How Liberals Planned

For all the apologies and concern from Democrats because people are losing their insurance plans, ObamaCare is working exactly how it was written and intended to affect the U.S. population. Most liberals and Democrats made no secret of their intention to have the U.S. move to a one payer government system and many opined that ObamaCare was the first step in that direction. ObamaCare would increase the number of Americans on government run Medicaid insurance plans for not only those that are presently uninsured, but also through the millions of people who will lose their current private insurance plans due to ObamaCare rules. This, ultimately, was the goal of liberals – increase government run insurance plans while taking away business from private companies.

How else could anyone interpret the essential ObamaCare requirements placed on insurance plans? These are the 10 essentials for health insurance plans to meet ObamaCare guidelines:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance abuse disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

And because of these essential guidelines along with accepting all preexisting conditions, health insurance premiums are going to skyrocket. It just does not make sense that a single man’s plan include maternity care or that a couple in their 70’s plan include newborn care. It also does not make sense for young and healthy people’s plan to include chronic disease and mental health coverage (low probability). If insurance companies have to accept preexisting conditions than why can’t people sign up for low probability insurance plans if they need it (a 50 year old pregnant woman or 18 year old with cancer) instead of making it an expensive requirement? To make these essential guidelines mandatory for all insured only has one consequence – It will lead to more people losing their private insurance plans.

So ObamaCare is working exactly how liberals drafted the law – It is the first step to an expensive on payer system controlled by the IRS and Health and Human Services government entities.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How People Misuse the Transitive Property

In math the transitive property states:

Whenever A > B and B > C, then also A > C

Whenever A ≥ B and B ≥ C, then also A ≥ C

Whenever A = B and B = C, then also A = C.

Hence, on a test if student A scores 7 points better than student B and student B scores 8 points better than student C, then we can conclude student A scored 15 points better than student C. However, most people make the mistake of thinking they can use the transitive property to evaluate trends and prognosticate future outcomes. This is what I like to call “eyeball statistics” and wrote about it here:

For example, if team A beats team B and team B beats team C, then we like to assume that team A will beat team C. This is not necessarily going to be the case. And if team A beats team B by 10 points and team B beats team C by 10 points, it is highly unlikely team A will beat team C by exactly 20 points. The reason for this is simple, in the real world there are a lot of variables that go into deciding a particular outcome – injuries, illness, matchup styles, mistakes, and of course people have good and bad days.

We see people try to use the transitive property incorrectly in politics all the time. For education the government is using standardized testing to decide if students pass a minimum set of requirements for reading, writing, and math. The standardized test encompasses a few hours of one day. Bureaucrats make the wrong assumption that children doing well in school will translate to higher test scores and conversely children doing poorly in school will translate to lower test scores. But this is not necessarily true. A good student can have a bad day due to extenuating circumstances such as trouble at home, lack of sleep, or other variables that may turn a good student into a poor one on any given day. The same can be said of a bad student; they can have a good or lucky day and pass the test. To assume a few hours of one day correctly assesses the aptitude of students is an insane proposition. The same test can be administered on a different day with drastically different outcomes for each student. It makes more sense to evaluate the student’s overall body of work over the course of the year instead of over a few hours. This is the only way to average out good and bad days.

On climate change we assume if there is a trend of higher global temperatures for a few straight years then we automatically assume the upcoming year will be warmer. If the earth is hit with a few violent storms we all the sudden assume that storms are increasing with intensity. This is human nature because it is what makes sense from a simple mathematical concept – the transitive property. However, climate change is not a simple problem to statistically evaluate using one or two variables – there are thousands of variables that must be considered. The same can be said about education, there are hundreds of unique variables and extenuating circumstances that affect each student.

A day does not pass when I see some genius try to extrapolate world issues by using the transitive property on data – this is wrong and it has to stop.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Media is Soft

President Obama can sit through a 60 Minutes interview and not face any difficult questions about the struggling economy, his drone program, the Benghazi terrorist attack, why he golf’s so much, why he plays golf with womanizer Tiger Woods, why he goes on so many talk TV programs, why he is always campaigning, the shortcomings of ObamaCare, the failures of the Arab Spring, the failures in Afghanistan, and so forth. Instead, he faces softball questions about his favorite food, his dog, and his hip lifestyle.

The media is not only soft towards the liberal cause, it is soft in sports. Every day we hear sports media types ask the dumbest questions to athletes. After a team wins an event we can expect the following questions to the events MVP:

What does it feel like to win?

What emotions do you feel right now?

What where thinking about during that play?

What would say to the losing team?

What kind of bond do you feel with your teammates?

Did you expect to win the MVP?

Conversely, we can expect these questions to go to the captain of the losing team:

What does it feel like to come this far but fall a bit short of winning?

What emotions do you feel right now?

What would you say to the winning team?

Ever since Howard Cosell interjected nonsense into his interviews and color commentary, sports media coverage has been abysmal. A third grader could come up with these questions. I remember Cosell rambling and making comments like “Do you know that man does not like strawberry ice cream.” Well, I could care less. And I can certainly care less about what an athlete feels after winning and losing because it is obvious. None of these media types would make good lawyers because many structure their questions in a leading manner. For instance, “Isn’t it a great feeling to win?” For once, I would love to hear a player say “I am disappointed we won, it does not feel very good.” “I feel sorry for the other team, and really wish another player was selected to be MVP.” “I feel very sad and angry we won, I wish we did a little less to win the game.”

So it is not just Obama receiving those dumb softball and leading questions that no one cares about. Our media is throwing these questions out to everyone, except of course to a conservative.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Marijuana Pipe Dream

There is so much discussion about the legalization of marijuana these days, especially after two states voted to legalize the use the drug (Colorado and Washington). Today, 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana usage. This is the White House’s position on marijuana policy straight from the Office of National Drug Control website: “Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). As a Schedule I drug, marijuana is classified under the following criteria: A. The drug has a high potential for abuse. B. The drug has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States C. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.” Yet, the federal government has done very little to enforce federal laws as it pertains to legalized medical marijuana. The Supreme Court has ruled numerous times, and most recently on the Arizona Immigration law, that state law cannot trump federal laws citing the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. So why doesn’t the federal government sue those states who have legalized medical marijuana because their laws conflict with federal laws? Meanwhile, the DOJ has sued numerous states over conflicting immigration policy. This truly shows the hypocrisy of the federal government. Do not get me wrong, I am a big states rights advocate, but the DOJ certainly shows its bias when it comes to enforcing federal laws.

Liberals have argued for years that legalizing marijuana would raise tax revenues for both federal and state governments. Legalization would also be helpful to the environment for several reasons. First, the pesticides and other toxins being used to grow illegal marijuana are poisoning our lands (and many of these illegal marijuana farms are located on pristine state and national park lands). Secondly, it would reduce energy and water consumption to run these illegal marijuana farms. Legal marijuana farms would no longer need to be hid in remote areas and could have clear access to the best and cheapest energy source – the sun. Legalization would also reduce the need for enforcement which would save state and federal governments millions annually. Finally, legalization would provide access to medical marijuana for all.

All of this sounds great, but it is dream for several reasons. First, if marijuana has any medical advantages let the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve the drug and then let it be dispensed though pharmacies. This is standard procedure for all drugs and those that do not comply are violating federal law. Secondly, higher taxes and reduced enforcement is more than likely going to lead to a black market for cheaper tax free marijuana. To think legalization in the U.S. will suddenly stop the flow of illegal marijuana into the U.S or farmed within the U.S. is just naïve. The only true way to collect tax revenues on marijuana is to implement a flat or fair tax. Hence, environmental gains will be small if any since the demand for marijuana will rise and not go down if it is legalized. Finally, if marijuana legalization leads to higher drug usage and dependency it will cost state and federal governments more in enforcement, healthcare, and entitlement costs than it will receive in tax revenues.

I think states should have the right to enforce marijuana laws as they see fit without federal government intervention (but it will not happen). That being said, I voted against the legalization of marijuana in Colorado because I think it will ultimately be detrimental towards society.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

There is Only One Type of Disability: Quitting (Part II)

· Set Goals – Disabilities may force you to adjust goals, but that is okay. Treat disabilities as a challenge to overcome.

· Empathy - Don’t feel sorry for yourself and realize as bad as things may be, they can always be worse and there are people who are suffering more than you.

· Acceptance – The sooner you accept your disability the sooner you can move on to achieve. In many instances, family and self-denial only exasperate disabilities.

· Opportunity – Disabilities are an opportunity to be inspirational, motivational, and to educate the public on your disability.

· Complaining – Never complain about your disability unless you offer reasonable solutions and ideas to help solve the problem. When you talk about your disability do so in a positive manner without emotions.

· Exploitation – Many people exploit their disabilities and tell sob stories about them and become a burden on society. People should never exploit their disability nor should they exploit their race, gender, financial standing, or sexual orientation in any manner.

· Failure – Never be afraid of failure, you cannot succeed if failure is not an option.

· Improvement – Improve each day and become a better person. There is truth to the motto “no pain – no gain”.

· True Disabilities – A disability is not self-inflicted nor is it gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or financially related. As a country we tend to classify minorities, the poor, women, and gays as being disabled, but this is further from the truth. I am not saying these groups of people do not face tough challenges, but living in the United States is the best place to achieve equality.

· Lead – Lead by example and do not be a follower, be the exception not the norm.

· Health – Advocate for your own health and do not rely solely on doctors – I am convinced most are quacks. Exercise daily, it will make you feel better. Yes, even people with chronic pain can find relief from exercise.

· Never Ever Quit

Nothing pains me more to see the fastest growing employment sector in our economy is being disabled. There are 9 million people collecting social security disability and millions more collect these benefits including family members of disabled workers plus disabled spouses and children. I find it hard to believe that 6% (1 in 16 people) of our workforce is disabled and cannot work. I think people are exploiting the system, especially people with self-inflicted disabilities which can be corrected. And to make matters worse, as a country we treat people who impoverished, women, gays, and ethnical minorities as disabled. A healthy person is not disabled. A disability does not discriminate and is not necessarily visual to the naked eye. Disabilities are a uniting issue and problem; they are not a political issue whereas race, gender, financial standing, and sexual orientation are polarizing and divisive political topics.

At some point I hope to add a few posts about achieving some of my goals despite my physical limitations.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

There is Only One Type of Disability: Quitting (Part I)

Most people with disabilities do not want to be viewed as being disabled. Why? Because they are living their lives to their fullest just as every other American, they have not given up. They merely want to be viewed as equals.

On the other hand, some people want to be identified by their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, wealth, political affiliation, religious affiliation, or disability. Most do not. Most people simply want to be viewed as equal regardless of our skin color, beliefs, sexual orientation, or disability.

There is only type of disability in life and it is not being disabled, poor, or being a minority. It is using your disability, skin color, financial standing, or beliefs as an excuse. Excuses are the real disability in life. Once a person uses excuses for their problems and issues, then you can expect these same people to quit and give up trying to overcome their adversity. There is no way to overcome and achieve once a person quits. Quitters are the people that become a burden on society. People who are afraid of failure will ultimately become failures. People who are afraid to face their fears will ultimately become prey to their fears. These people have quit in the game of life, the game in which we all only receive one opportunity to make a difference. It is a shame to let this opportunity pass.

What’s even more troubling is that many disabilities are self-inflicted. Obesity, substance abuse, and poor mental attitudes lead to disabilities which could easily be overcome with life style changes. And the worst thing anyone can do once they have a disability (especially self-inflicted disabilities) is to quit and become a burden to their family and society.

So many people have come back from horrific war experiences to overcome amputation and post-traumatic stress to become successful and inspirational citizens. These are the people who inspire me. Those who overcome a disability to achieve successes are the most inspirational people.

I am not saying that all disabilities are the same and that disabled people should not collect benefits. What I am saying is that collecting benefits should not be the ultimate goal. Benefits take away incentive and make it too easy to quit. And that should not be the purpose of benefits and charities. It is great we live in a country where it is possible to obtain financial assistance, access to good healthcare, and most importantly technological advances to mitigate disabilities. This may be a starting place for people with disabilities, but it should not be the ending place.

I grew up poor, had a learning disability, was abused, and now have a chronic neurological condition (You can read my posts on Benign Fasciculation Syndrome). I have never and will never accept a handout of any kind: unemployment, disability, or charity. Most neurologists think what I have is “no big deal” because I will not die from my condition. However, living with constant muscle twitching, cramping, fatigue, pins and needles, numbness, pain, and stiffness is stressful and debilitating. Here are a few rules I live by to help me overcome my chronic disability:

Friday, November 1, 2013

ObamaCare Worse Than I Predicted

I predicted doom and gloom once ObamaCare was enacted. Thus far many of the things I predicted have started to come to fruition. Anyone who read any part of the Affordable Care Act would have realized there is nothing affordable about it at all and health insurance premiums would skyrocket. At the rate of increase over the past five years for my health insurance – in 15 years my premiums would be nearly 100 thousand dollars a year for me and my wife. This is true for most people and the reasons are clear - ObamaCare places the onus solely on health insurance companies to shoulder the load for reforming the medical industry. For this reason, and of course having to accept all pre-existing conditions healthcare costs have to go up. I am now hear arguments from Democrats stating that health insurance premiums always go up. This is true, but they are going up faster and what’s worse the President promised premiums would go down dramatically. Another prediction that has come true is that more people are losing their current insurance under ObamaCare. This was another lie that was easy to see coming for several reasons. First, insurance policies had to meet a minimum set of requirements under ObamaCare. Secondly, it is easier for companies to pay a fine instead of insuring employees. Thirdly, higher insurance premiums mean some companies are dropping coverage for spouses to control their costs. Much of this was easy to see, but other things have come to light that I did not predict.

First, who could have imagined that the high tech election machine that is the Obama administration could screw up the website for signing up ObamaCare? This is almost comical that they spent 600 million dollars on a system that has to be completely redone. The government screws up everything they get their hands on and then of course the burden fall on the taxpayers to try to clean up their messes. Secondly, despite pouring billions into advertising, young people are not taking the bait to sign up for ObamaCare and would rather pay the fine (which is cheaper). If the young and healthy do not sign up - insurance and medical costs will skyrocket. The mandate that all Americans have health insurance is supposedly what makes ObamaCare financially achievable. Hence, without the young signing up ObamaCare can fiscally collapse. Time will tell. Thirdly, what’s even more troubling is that most people signing up for ObamaCare already have medical issues which will only increase costs. Fourthly, many people signing up for ObamaCare are Medicaid eligible. In other words, states Medicaid payrolls are expanding which will once again raise costs. Fifthly, the FDA just passed a new law requiring people to see a doctor at a minimum quarterly and in some cases monthly to get prescriptions for pain. The FDA is trying to control prescription abuse, but this will place a higher burden on the medical system. For instance, I usually go to the doctor once a year. Now, at a minimum, I have to go at least four times yearly to get my prescription for Lyrica filled (I use it to control neurological symptoms for a disorder I have). That is a bigger expense on me and ultimately will create a larger demand on doctors and therefore increased medical costs. The fact people will have to go to the doctor more will also work to raise insurance premiums further. Hence, the government is punishing good people and the timing could not have been worse for this law (during the time ObamaCare is being rolled out).

Hopefully, the media finally comes to its senses. Recently, CBS has reported negatively about the ObamaCare rollout, the Benghazi cover up, and the NSA spying on the leaders of many of our allies. Maybe, finally, the media will see how the Obama administration has lied to the American public about ObamaCare and turn against our socialist leader.

I argued that the Republicans should not try to stop the rollout of ObamaCare. Unfortunately, until naïve Americans and media personnel see the effects of ObamaCare on themselves they will continue to support this dunce and his social plans. Sure, ObamaCare is causing me headaches in increased costs (I pay more now health insurance than I have ever paid on a mortgage), but others have to feel the pain as well for this law to be repealed.