Tuesday, May 27, 2014

SAR #14146

They say you learn by experience. In my experience, that's not true.

Never Waste An Opportunity: Interesting how the underfunded (and poorly managed) VA system's problems have immediately conjured up a plan to privatize parts of the system. For profits for for profit hospitals. Funny how the showcase for public health has suddenly become an unwanted step-child.

Another New Record: In April, carbon dioxide measurements in the northern hemisphere hit 400 ppm for the first time in human history. Not in recorded history, but in all the time humans have existed. Too bad we were designed to live in a world with an atmospheric CO2 count around 280 ppm. There is no way in hell we'll ever see that again.

The Other Kids Do It...” Having failed once, the Canadian government is trying to sneak a bill through parliament that would authorize expanded electronic monitoring of Canadian citizens... as part of the government's crackdown on “cyber-bullying.” They didn't think they could get away with the NSA's simple “because we can” approach.

Passing The Time: While you are standing in line this summer, waiting for the friendly TSA agent to grope you, ponder this: the frisking, body scans, profiling, tossed liquids, the inconvenience exist for no reason and the agency has no evidence that the process is anything more than a charade to make the traveling public feel safe. Which the public needs because TSA and Homeland Security have done their best to scare all of us into letting them herd us around. Given the costs of the TSA and the lack of evidence suggesting that it accomplishes any of its stated goals, why don't we just do away with it. And its parent agency, while we're at it.

Neither Nor: Events like the chemical spills in West Virginia and North Carolina are not accidents nor acts of nature nor 'freak occurrences'. They are the consequences of lax and ineffective regulation and corporate cultures that prize profits over people. 
Odds Are: The “Eurosceptic parties” - those that want out of the euro and out of the European Union (and often out of the 21st Century) – did remarkably well in the EU elections. UKIP in England beat both the Conservatives and Labor, In France the National Front got 25% of the vote, In Germany the far right got a combined 12%, in Denmark the Danish People's Party won 27% of the vote and in Greece the leftist Syriza dominated the vote. Of course this would be more important if those running Europe had any intention of listening to the people.

Turf War: Hospitals are tired of having to scrape by while health insurance companies keep raking in the big bucks. The answer? Why, get into the health insurance business. After all, they have identical business plans – squeezing money out of the sick and injured. And if a particular hospital network dominated your market and it had its own insurance company.. can you say higher rates and higher copays and higher profits?

Puff, Inc. Sure the NSA is big and scary, but it is not supernatural, it is not magic. The only real magic the NSA has is a huge pile of money it deploys, the tools they use are not particularly clever – they use the same bits and pieces that ordinary hackers do – but the NSA is simply better funded. This lets them gather and store and analysze immense amounts of data, but none of the steps along the way is particularly clever. No, the NSA is not magic, just dangerous
The Parting Shot:

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