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Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Tipping of a POTUS

In 2016 a total of 63 million American voted either for Donald Trump or against Hilary Clinton. Many more people for Hilary who had 65.8 million votes. Due to the US Electoral College process some where around 100,000 voters pushed Trump’s EC count over the threshold for the win.

Several factors will be working against Trump’s re-election chances. Several states are passing legislation requiring all candidates to release multiple years of tax returns in order to have their name one the ballot. There is no double that a write in campaign would be mounted to offset that fact. However, it would be a disadvantage to not have his trademark name printed on the ballot.

Also there is a two part movement by some states to either allocate their EC votes by the percentages each candidate in the popular vote. The other variation is the awarding of all a state’s EC votes to the winner of the national popular vote counts.

Both of these developments likewise work against a candidate who neither won the popular vote nor won the votes in densely populated urban areas.

In 2020 Donald Trump, if he is free to run, will not have an opponent who had been besmirched for 30 years and had a sizable hatred mounted against her. Trump must face the fact that a sizable number did not FOR him but AGAINST Clinton.

Another factor working against a Trump re-election win is that in the intervening 4 years many balloting systems have been switched back to paper trail protocols, the counting will have a far greater scrutiny. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”  The balloting districts will be watching this time. Ballot irregularities will be seen much earlier.

Lastly, the voters who put Trump in the Oval Office now know what to expect. They see the mendacity of the incumbent. They will have experienced losses of income, health care, and all around wellbeing.

Also after there has been the natural attrition of their numbers. The average age of a Trump voter was much than for Clinton. The 50-64 and 65+ demographics leaned toward Trump while the 18-29 and 30-49 cohorts favored Clinton or it could be reasoned voted against Trump. Her younger voter base was larger than his older voter base. The people all will be 4 years older and more of the older Trump supporters will have died.

Undoubtedly, Trump will have a far more difficult time replicating his 2016 results. Malcolm Gladwell wrote on the phenomena of the Tipping Point. Events sometimes tip and result in a wildly successful outcome for someone. The problem resides in trying to make the events tip. Rarely do the same causes result in a second tip. One could say “tip happens, but try to do it again, it’s futile.”

Friday, August 17, 2018

How to Judge a Roadeo Using Wireless Technology

Bus Roadeos of all vehicle classes are a major undertaking for the organizations which run them on an annual basis. Dozens of judges, sometimes 3 or 4 are needed at each event station. On-board judges need to be highly observant for the small actions which are to be included in the scoring protocol. Then if there are two classes of vehicle being run at the same time, double the number of people needed.
Serpentine Obstacle Event 

While working for Community Transportation Association of America, I was part of 12 community transportation roadeos at the National level. Prior to those events I was a spectator at several APTA Roadeos in the mid-1990s. Every event was scored on paper and runners stopped by to collect the forms to turn in to the Score Master for processing by two or three more personnel.

Errors always needed to be reduced by checking and rechecking the tabulations on each score sheet. Just one CTAA Roadeo might have 110 drivers performing 14 scored events for a total of over 1500 individual score sheets.

The initial tabulation was done by the judge on the course. Then a scoring person needed to run the numbers again on a calculator. The third tally occurred when the sheets were manually typed into a spreadsheet. I always thought that was a very cumbersome process. It wasn't until the telecommunication industry started making smart phones and tablet computers was it feasible to economically do the scoring with automation.

Now that protocol is possible with the ModalChoice system for Digital Roadeo Scoring. This system uses the smartphones and tablet computers on the course to collect and tabulate the scores. A local system of WiFi makes it possible to report those results immediately to the Score Master who verifies everything keeps humming along.

All the hardware in a box, well two boxes
You can read more about this system by visiting and clicking on the placard on the right. Most important of all is to tell other people who do roadeo judging about this system and interest them in looking further into it. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Fossil Fools

Fossil Fools

"When you are a Fossil Fool, every light bulb looks like a chunk of coal." ~ It's all Tuna!

When the Federal government appointee is also a shill for a multinational corporation which seeks to extract profits from the ground at the expense of the health and safety of people residing in the region, as is the case with coal and fracking for gas, you get Fossil Fools in charge.

Recently Energy Secretary Pick Perry was appointed to his job on the basis of a single job qualification: he would favor fossil fuels over all other means of energy production. Mixed in with that singular qualification is his alleged moral compass.

In an interview after a trip to Africa, Fossil Fool, Rick Perry asserted that fossil fuels would reduce sexual assault. For everyone who has even a partial high school education, that might need further explanation. Even a Phd in Christian Studies would need to have the connection explained.

Here goes. Little girls reading by fire light in an African village would be safer from sexual assault if fossil sourced electricity were pushed out to the village and the resulting electric illumination, i.e., "When the light are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts... [they will be safe.] @Timothy_Cama tweeted on the subject.

If the man, Perry, were not looking at every need of illumination as profit center of a chunk of coal, then there are a multitude of possible solutions which do not involve US-based corporations freightering coal from West Virginia or Wyoming to Africa.

The vast distances and low settlement densities make local electric generation far more feasible than anything a massive power plant and intricate wiring grid could ever hope to handle. A couple of solar panels, 6 or 12 volts batteries and a row of LEDs can light a house nearly indefinitely. No fumes, no transmission towers, and no off-site pollution source.

Even village based solar and wind installations can do a far better job of making electricity than any chunk of US coal. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Rational Approach to Health Care

The ability of private health insurance companies to limit lifetime cost and deny coverage of preexisting conditions is the prime factor in the overly expensive health care costs in the United States. The web of cost and payment systems is built on these two lee ways.

The limits on lifetime costs creates many instances where a person who begins a lifetime of medical intervention exhausts their available payments. Once that threshold is reached, the person and his/her family must beg for services and utilize the ER system in order to receive urgent care. They must seek out philanthropic sources to obtain treatment which cannot be had from an Emergency room visit. Many times the medical facility must write off the costs to the actual patient and instead allocate them to overhead and charge the insurance providers a higher amount. This is why a $2 bag of saline is charged at $800. As long as the insurance provider is in the loop the medical facility gets paid. This scenario of cost allocation puts an undue burden on people who do not have coverage and are similarly charged the $800 amount.

In the mix of who pays for what, the insurance company gets to limit their exposure to payouts and doesn't have an incentive to contain the costs.

By being able to exclude high risk patients and high cost procedures and medications the insurance companies shift the costs over to charitable, philanthropic and public assistance budgets such as Medicaid, SCHIP and Medicare Disability coverages. The exclusions for unfavorable items such as abortions, contraceptives, mental health, dental and elective surgeries likewise drive up the costs to people who do not have coverage.

As long as certain people can be excluded and certain procedures and therapies not covered there will be inequities and cost shifting rather than true cost containment.

Medicare, for instance, is prohibited from negotiating with the pharmaceutical industry for bulk buying prices. For the people who are covered by private insurance they do not need to worry (for the most part) about the costs. For people who are covered by Medicare or Medicaid the co-pay amounts can be prohibitive. The ostensible reason for co-pays is to make the patient partly responsible for limiting the demand for medications. The real reason is the funding sources for drugs will only pay a certain amount and the manufacturer wants more than that.

If the insurance industry could not deny a patient, charge a deductible and a copay, then they and the pharmaceutical industry would have to come to terms for the actual costs. One or both industries would have to accept a smaller profit margin.

Of course this treatise is leading in the direction of a single payer health care system for the United States. This doesn't mean the entire healthcare insurance industry would be scrapped. Someone still needs to administer the system and monitor it for efficiencies. That entity (those entities) can easily be the existing insurance corporation. It would necessarily limit the salaries and other compensation of the top executives and the ROI for investors.  On the positive side, everyone would be able to receive care. When a need for facility and personnel expansion is identified building would be built, personnel would be trained. In the agglomerated mash up of services and administration there is no rational relationship between the number of doctors, nurses and technicians who are trained. The industry does not act on the attrition of personnel via retirement and career switching. The industry doesn't act on the projections of population, age demographics or emerging disease crises.

One can take as an example the number of and locations of dialysis units around the country. While any business which decides to build a facility can be assured of its full use capacity, they rarely take into consideration that getting there and home is an integral part of the treatment. Precisely where the patients live relative to the dialysis unit is an external factor as far as the dialysis provider is concerned. As long as they do not have to consider the transportation element, cost will be high and patients will have difficulty obtaining their essential treatment.

The first steps in health care justice is to not allow insurance companies to deny coverage. Then put a price limit on the "essential" coverages. They will have to work together with their vendors to buy the hardware and drugs they cover. Lastly, they would have access to public funds to make up the difference.

Yeah, you can call that socialist. It is. So are the Police Department, Fire Department, Public Works Department, Highway Department, and those pesky socialists who plow and salt the highways each winter. It is time the single largest economic cost division get in line with the remainder of the economy.

Fewer and fewer people are employed today than before due to job migration and automation. Fewer of the remaining jobs will be full-time and of a compensation level which includes health insurance. In 12 years, the last of the Baby Boom generation of 59 million people will reach age 65. Owing to the actuarial tables, there will be somewhere around 120 million Americans who are Medicare age. The planners in our society and the Legislators we elect need to take a hard look at what the future will be and devise a new system of health care delivery and payment.