Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Horrors: Timely Preview of Universal Health Care

April 20, 2009 - Senators Set Timetable for Health Care Bills
The chairmen of two Senate committees told President Obama today that by early June they would finish writing legislation on health care to “provide coverage to all Americans.”

The literal meaning of socialized medicine is limited to systems of government operated health care facilities using government employed health care professionals.[8][9][10][7]. This definition applies both to British National Health Service hospital trusts and the Veterans Health Administration in the United States.

This brief posting has only three items to keep in mind.

First, citizens of the U.S. should insist that members of Congress subject themselves to the same health care facilities to which the public will be subjected, not the separate and privileged Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) plan they currently enjoy at our expense.

Secondly, the hallmarks of the terms public and universal as in restrooms or military conscription (the draft) have often meant lowered standards. Restroom sanitation particularly comes to mind in both public highway rest stops and VA hospitals (Washington post article) .

Apr 19, 2009 - VA: 3 patients HIV-positive after clinic mistakes
Initial tests show one patient each from VA medical facilities in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Augusta, Ga., and Miami has the virus that causes AIDS, according to a VA statement. ...The patients are among more than 10,000 getting tested because they were treated with endoscopic equipment that wasn't properly sterilized and exposed them to other people's body fluids. ...The VA also said there have been six positive tests for the hepatitis B virus and 19 positive tests for hepatitis C at the three locations. ... The VA has said it does not yet know if veterans treated with the same kind of equipment at its other 150 hospitals may have been exposed to the same mistake before the department had a nationwide safety training campaign.

Finally, with few exceptions, the current administration is comprised of lawyers. There can be little doubt that the final Universal Health Care Act will require private medical insurance
accounts and health care providers. This will assure lawyers' job security (right to sue for malpractice claims). Will the cost of health care be lowered like standards will?

Of course not, check your local hospitals. Liability claims eat 40% - 60% of the typical hospitals budgeted allocations now. As standards further deteriorate and lawyers sue, these allocations will certainly rise. Lawyer job security, it seems, is destined to improve regardless of economic crises.

Well, do you still want socialized medicine?



Monday, April 20, 2009

ANSWER to Mystery Question of the Week (submariner average intelligence)

Causes for Rejection are:
Because of the nature of the duties and responsibilities of each person in a submarine, the psychological fitness of applicants for submarine training must be carefully appraised. The objective is to elicit evidence of tendencies which might prevent satisfactory adjustment to submarine life. Among these are below average intelligence, ... source. Obviously then, submariners must possess average or higher intelligence. What is average? At one time, we had a USNA Honor Man in our ustaboat crew. He could quickly perform phenomenally accurate fire control calculations in his head, and was a true genius (not the only one).

Read on ...

The bell curve distribution for IQ scores tells us that two thirds of the world’s population has an IQ somewhere between 85 and 115. This means that some four and a half billion people around the globe share just 31 numerical values (“he’s a 94,” “you’re a 110,” “I’m a 103”), equivalent to 150 million people worldwide sharing the same IQ score.

Mystery Question of the Week - 4-16-2009:
Who summarized IQ scores in this way?
This sounds a lot to me like astrology, which lumps everyone into one of 12 signs of the zodiac.

Daniel Paul Tammet, 30, a British high-functioning autistic savant gifted with a facility for mathematical and natural language learning. The first of nine children, to working-class parents in London, he has been termed Brainman, one of an estimated 5o people in the world with prodigious calculating and sensory abilities. Tammet, an author, holds the European record for recalling and reciting the first 22,514 digits of pi. Tammet's arduous feat required five hours and nine minutes.[5] Some of Tammet's other abilities can be seen in under 5 minutes here:

Link to Tammet interview From the April 2009 Scientific American Mind.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Friday, April 17, 2009

Better Maritime Threat (Pirate) Symmetry

Galrahn shows some anxiety over pirates and Asymmetric Maritime Threats here. Reading the linked article by Fred Kaplan (Slate) gave me agita. Speaking of the recent SEAL rescue, Kaplan says:

"Piracy, of course, is nothing new, though its frequency is intensifying, and the attack on an American-flagged merchant ship, the Maersk Alabama, revealed an unusual degree of daringand, as it turned out, at least this time, stupidity."

If that were not bad enough, Mr. Kaplan states that, The Somali pirates, by contrast, are simply bandits. ... Let's start by treating them like the criminals they are.

Well, that's Mr. Kaplan's opinion. Actually, the simple pirates collect hundreds of times more dollars in ransoms than bank robbers and they commit their crimes, including homicides, at sea. My guess is Mr. Kaplan is a lawyer or has close relatives who are. Kaplan's arguments are self-serving for the legal profession who want to disarm other Americans. Curiously, many lawyers have concealed carry permits for their personal protection.
Far worse, Kaplan insists:
The fight against the Somali pirates is not, nor should it be presented as, a campaign in the 'war on terror' ... Does Mr. Kaplan know how Somali pirates divvy their rich spoils? If Al Qaeda or their partners ever share in these proceeds, Mr. Kaplan, we can be certain the pirates are funding are opponents in our contingency operations overseas.

A sure method to discourage modern piracy is to dispatch miscreants to paradise, but PETOP
(People for the Ethical Treatment of Pirates) objects to summary execution. A better way is suggested in the YouTube here. [ skip to 7:12 for the boarding, 8:04 for the repel boarder action, and the resulting chaos scenes].

Note: When the natives are coming down the ladder on the Nautilus, the lead native is wearing a wedding band.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mystery Question of the Week - 4-16-2009

The bell curve distribution for IQ scores tells us that two thirds of the world’s population has an IQ somewhere between 85 and 115. This means that some four and a half billion people around the globe share just 31 numerical values (“he’s a 94,” “you’re a 110,” “I’m a 103”), equivalent to 150 million people worldwide sharing the same IQ score.

Mystery Question:
1- Who summarized IQ scores this way?
This sounds a lot to me like astrology, which lumps everyone into one of 12 signs of the zodiac.

ANSWER Monday: (Comments turned off to prevent spoilers).

Good luck with this challenge.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Submariners vs. Subprime Promoters: Who Are Fit for "Red Stapler Assignments"?

The Navy's treatment of COs in moving accidents has been legendary (well-known to all prospective commanding officers beforehand) and sensible (not so harsh as to deter competent applicants for command). We can also have good faith that when the Navy relieves COs it fits the actual facts and circumstances (few will ever be privy to detailed facts and circumstances of every case, however).

That said, those relieved can often be good family men with exceptional prospects for salvageable civilian lives. I have trouble conferring greater reliance on any career congressman than on career naval officers, or as in this case, even relieved naval officers.

Rather than dwell on some lifelong blindspot that finally caught up with these ex-COs, or some ill-preparedness for predictable misfortunes, we should credit the men with having served their country's military longer even than most USNA grads do these days. [Do not know for sure that this one is or is not a graduate of our taxpayer-funded USNA].

The mistakes COs can make are on an order of magnitude commensurate with their ranks and assignments. Before invoking harsh criticisms on fellow veterans, perhaps we should first contrast the effective end of their naval careers to the much greater mistakes (e.g. subprime mortgage promotion) made by sitting members of our government, still in Congress, who never served in the military.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Monday, April 13, 2009

Sanity is Lost in the Shuffle

In dubious tribute to the status quo of America's public education system, many voters seem to have abdicated both of their key responsibilities. Voting participation is low compared even with Iraq. This certainly lightens the jobs of unscrupulous politicians and incompetent journalists, but it also lightens the load of lazy, dumbdowned citizens.

Here are two examples that could benefit from another key responsibility, invoking SANITY TESTs:

1 - Jim Hansen, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, argues that one of the major problems associated with global warming and climate change is the possibility of significant rises in sea levels. - April 13, 2009


Leaders urge Obama to use stimulus for beach sand - April 13, 2009

Virginia Beach wants all of that and sand, too. Beach officials are concerned the Obama administration will disqualify sand replenishment projects from receiving stimulus cash and have launched a pre-emptive lobbying effort. Virginia Beach is ...upset about reports the White House Office of Management and Budget pulled the Army Corps' list of beach renourishment projects. Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and Rep. Glenn Nye of Norfolk were among 30 members of Congress who signed a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to reconsider the decision.

Oh, what's that? You really don't believe Al Gore's anecdotal hype?

Voters should invoke the obvious SANITY TEST. Wouldn't printing money to replenish sand be the worst use of stimulus funds, if one believes the possibility of significant rises in sea levels?


2 - Here's a final example:

Invoking time limits on existing financial derivatives: If allowed to expire worthless in one year, taxpayers might be better served.
A regulatory policy on issuance of all NEW derivatives: The American public has the right to know when and what it will be.
Corporate accountability - chief executive offficers who stoodby as subprime mortgages allowed corporate assets to sour should be more accountable to their shareholders. Where is the push for improved corporate governance that Obama promised?
Political accountability - shouldn't those who injected the actual poison (subprime mortgages) into the otherwise viable derivatives market be identified and drummed out of politics?



Sunday, April 12, 2009

President Obama "Gets It"!

A few days ago, we remarked, Time Will Tell Whether Our Commander-in-Chief Really Gets It.

Had Capt. Phillips died, even accidentally, the NAVY and U.S. military would have lost more face in a single day than the USMC gained in their successful surge.

Icelandic sailors were allowed to show more grit in their "cod wars" with the UK than the US had been showing to defiant pirates. Every time the pirates have collected a ransom their numbers, resolve, morale and sophistication have grown.

Lawyers should consult, but otherwise ought not be involved in maintaining open shipping lanes, much less in directing military ops! Obama made the only defensible decision available to a U.S. Commander-in-Chief in overruling the high and mighty lawyers.

It is a proud day for Pres. Obama and America!

The successful SEAL operation assures that next time the wait need not be so long. The White House staff lawyers have just been shown their rightful place in matters military.



Saturday, April 11, 2009

ANSWERS to Mystery Questions of the Week - 4-06-2009

From Monday's posting


1 - What indirect connection, mentioned inside the book, could account for the title Submarine?


(Quotation from book) You know they used ultrasound during World War Two to detect submerged objects, I say.

2 - What did the early development (of ultrasound) share with an element, much in the news lately, Polonium? (note: Polonium was incorrectly typed as Plutonium in the original question).


(Quotation [color added]) 1880 - The scientist, Jacque Curie, the man who discovered element polonium and major parts of radioactivity, and his brother Pierre research sound waves. They develop the principle of piezoelectricity which eventually led to the creation of the transducer. (here ) Also:

Early 1900s - A group led by Paul Langevin experiments with high frequency ultrasound. They use this to detect submarines, which later led to the development of sonar.


Submarines are always silent and strange.



Thursday, April 09, 2009

Time Will Tell Whether Our Commander-in-Chief Really Gets It

U.S. Sovereignty is not to be minimized. Does anyone wish to argue the point?
If so, argue with this: Attitude worse than you even imagined video (about 8 minutes).


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Strategic and Anti-terrorist Predictions Seem to Have Come to Pass

From January 20, 2008 - Background

Adam Yahiye Gadahn has been a media advisor for Al-Qaeda. He appeared in a number of videos produced by Al-Qaeda as "Azzam the American", and is believed to have inspired bin Laden's September 2007 video. On October 11, 2006 he was placed on the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Rewards for Justice Program list of wanted criminals. On the same day, Gadahn was indicted based on the testimony of the FBI case agent E.J. Hilbert II, in the Southern Division of the United States District Court for the Central District of California by a federal grand jury for the capital crime of treason for aiding an enemy of the United States. Gadahn is the first American charged with treason since 1952.

Vigilis's PREDICTION 1 -January 20, 2008: Gadahn' death imminent within 255 days.

FACT 1: September 7, 2008 - The Sunday Telegraph reported that Gadahn may have been killed by a Predator attack in January 2008 in Waziristan.[40] This was also reported by The Orange County Register,[41] KABC TV in Los Angeles, [42] and other news agencies.

(Well within the 255 days predicted, if still unconfirmed by CIA).


From November 30, 2007 - Background

A toy (teddy bear) was named Muhammad recently, which prompted Islamist Calls in Sudan for Execution of British Teacher. Like earlier instances of intolerance, this latest case provides an excellent inoculant against itself. Fortunately, it is also being spread worldwide by the anti-infidels themselves. Who could really ask for anything more?

Vigilis's PREDICTION 2 - November 30, 2007: 'Jolly Jihad in the Box' is expected to be a popular item initially available in infidel outlets for under $20. Unless, that is, the 'peaceful' religion's intolerance is tempered.

Some 1,000 printed reproductions of a drawing depicting Islam's prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban are being sold for 1,400 kroner ($250) each, said Lars Hedegaard, chairman of the Danish Free Press Society.

Notes: Vigilis was thinking too small; pricing was too low at under $20.


From June 03, 2005 - Background

How about this scenario: Mexico gets furious with U.S. policies, abrogates all treaties and cuts a deal with China to develop mixed used ports (military and commercial) on our doorstep. Our close ties with India obviously do not help.

Vigilis's PREDICTION 3 - June 03, 2005: Modernized blimps would probably do a fine job denying acces to homeland littorals at costs the Pentagon could digest cheaply. Crew size is minimal and Al-Zarqawi's stash of heat seekers would not work well at much distance. Now, who wishes to scoff that our modern Navy would ever consider such folly?

The giant dirigible would use radar to closely and constantly monitor activity on the ground from 65,000 feet. The 450-foot-long craft would give the U.S. military a better understanding of an adversary's movements, habits and tactics, officials said. And the ability to constantly monitor small movements in a wide area -- the Afghanistan- Pakistan border, for example -- would dramatically improve military intelligence.

Note: Vigilis has been in denial; this seems to be an Air Force Project, for the time being...

But DAARPA must have been reading this:

PREDICTION 4: With an effective range exceeding 15,000 feet, and altitudes to 12,500 feet, Stinger missiles may easily target the 57 MPH blimp's dual Porsche 930 engine exhaust before heat decoys could be released from the Skyship's 1,500 to 3,000 foot operating altitude.

and this:

Crew size is minimal (3), but terrorist heat-seeking Stingers would work well at the nominally low altitudes before decoys could be launched.


FACT 4: The giant dirigible that will float 65,000 feet above the Earth, nearly impossible to see, beyond the range of any hand-held missile, and safe from most fighter planes.

Crew size is minimal (3), but terrorist heat-seeking Stingers would work well at the nominally low altitudes before decoys could be launched.


FACT 5: It will allegedly be unmanned.




Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Not the Best Time for this Veteran to Be Sentenced, Is It?

Financial shenanigans of convicted white collar criminals like Madoff and the unindicted co-conspirators of the global financial meltdown have sensitized the public to white-collar crimes, which have traditionally received minimal punishments.

Punishments certainly need to fit the crime, and the public may finally insist on more than the common judicial wink, a slap on the wrist, token fine and 2 years imprisonment.

What would you think of a veteran who attempted to defraud the VA out of more than a million dollars in benefits? The guy who was later an Idaho sheriff's deputy who falsely claimed he was paraplegic, told a doctor in 2007 that he had been unable to work or walk since he left the Air Force in 1975. A year sfter he retired and began receiving disability compensation (1976), he founded a company called Custom Excavation and continued operating the business until 1992.

Federal investigators said that after Sebero retired he started an excavation company and operated it until 1992, and since 1992 he has owned and operated Custom Aviation, an aircraft maintenance operation for small planes at Felts Field in Spokane. He obtained a pilot's license after denying any medical problem or disability on his application to the Federal Aviation Administration, government lawyers wrote. source

In what U.S. Attorney James A. McDevitt called the largest disability compensation fraud case in Veterans Affairs Department history, an Idaho man has pleaded guilty in a $1.5 million disability fraud case.

An Air Force veteran in Idaho has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and making a false statement.
The 59-year-old man agreed to forfeit personal assets and to pay $950,000 in restitution, and could face 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

Well, time will tell us if his sentence is over 2-5 years and his fine more than $25,000. He is to be sentenced July 10th.

"By his actions, Mr. Sebero disgraced the system that compensates all those veterans who are truly disabled and who are fairly compensated for their injuries sustained in service to their country," McDevitt said.

We are outraged not only as veterans, but as taxpayers. more Are you?


Monday, April 06, 2009

Mystery Questions of the Week - 4-06-2009

We would be surprised if more than a few veteran bubbleheads read Joe Dunthorne's first novel, Submarine, much less give it a careful reading.

This first novel by a young Welsh poet is the sharpest, funniest, rudest account of a periodically troubled teenager's coming-of-age since The Catcher in the Rye... This brilliant novel is laugh-out-loud enjoyable - The Independent

Why would submarine purists skip Dunthorne's book, then? Well, it has almost nothing to do with real submarines except, perhaps, the poetic license taken here [my color emphasis]:

Struggling to buoy his parents’ wedded bliss, deep-six his own virginity, and sound the depths of heartache, happiness, and the business of being human, what’s a lad to do? Poised precariously on the cusp of innocence and experience, yesterday’s daydreams and tomorrow’s decisions, Oliver Tate aims to damn the torpedoes and take the plunge. Barnes&Noble


Mystery Questions of the Week


1 - What indirect connection, mentioned inside the book, could account for the title Submarine?


2 - Once you have the answer to the first question, an indirectly related one (to the answer, not the book) should confront you clever sleuths: What did the early development share with an element, much in the news lately, Polonium?


BONUS QUESTION (from current events)
3 - What is another development, of which law enforcement officials say they have already had unconfirmed reports, that would entirely alleviate the following conditions?
They don't have bathrooms. The beds are two mattresses draped over the fuel tanks, and the pilot can barely see through very small windows in mini-cabin. The noise and heat must be something infernal.
ANSWERS to Questions 1- and 2- will be given Friday. The answer to the Bonus Question (3- ) can be found here, now.

Admittedly, Vigilis has yet not read Submarine (Mystery Question answers are otherwise available), but the reviews promise it is a very entertaining novel, and its author is certainly gifted enough to make good on that promise.
If our well-versed shipmate, Chapomatic, reads it first we can be fairly sure he will share his experience.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Quotation of Note

Most non-professionals fail to note an important distinction laid out long ago by an influential judge relative to what constitutes tax evasion (illegal) and The Law of Tax Avoidance ... (legal).

Billings Learned Hand was a prominent United States judge and judicial philosopher. He served on the Southern District Court of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In his famous 1947 dissenting opinion justifying legal tax avoidance, Hand stated:

there is nothing sinister in so arranging one's affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible.


Hand has reportedly been quoted more often than any other lower-court judge by legal scholars and by the Supreme Court of the United States. [1]
Thus, tax evasion is expressly illegal, while savvy tax avoidance is simply enlightened. Either way, lawyers will collect generous fees.
Submarines are always silent and strange.
Many lawyers do not want fair and simple taxes, do you? If most do not, who will be surprised when submarine production is suddenly cut!


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