Archive for November, 2009

The green economy – it’s not about climate change

People are becoming more skeptical about climate change. Much of the change has to do with the failing economy, although the recent embarrassing emails from several scientists hasn’t helped win the public over. Coupled with this increased skepticism (which is wholly disconnected from the reality of climate change) is a decrease in focus on the so-called “green economy”, those jobs that will appear with the shift to a carbon-neutral, less-wasteful economy. This is terrible news, because the green economy is not just about the environment or climate change. It has far more importance.

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Net Neutrality

Of all the political debates out there, the one that confuses me the most is the notion that some people would be against net neutrality who did not work for ISPs like AT&T and Verizon. There are liberal/conservative splits on many issues that have merit, but when it comes to net neutrality, I can’t see how any techy person can be against it, despite their political leanings. Why does it matter? Let’s travel back to the days before the internet existed, when people spoke not of ISPs but BBSes…

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The grand tax-reform bargain

The U.S. tax system is a mess. But overhauling it is a daunting task. The last time in happened, in the 80s, it was more of a miracle than anything else: the stars aligned, both sides wanted reform, and the leadership was strong enough to turn aside the special interests. It is these special interests that fight reform: A tax loophole that helps a hundred people to the tune of millions but costs the average taxpayer a buck will be furiously defended by those hundred people, while the vast majority who don’t benefit probably don’t know it exists, let alone feel like fighting against it.

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Double white lines are confusing!

While Minnesota has a lot going for it, when it comes to drivers, no other states has more idiots. I’ve driven through a lot of states in this country. I’ve driven in a couple places in Europe, including on the Autobahn. Nowhere are drivers as stupid as in this state.

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Health care reform priorities – Cost or Coverage?

A lot of people who are opposed to the current health care reform bill in Congress believe that it focuses on the wrong priority: instead of working to cover everybody with insurance, as the current bill attempts, more effort should be put into lowering costs first.

I agree that lowering health care costs is just as important, and probably more so, than providing everybody with health coverage. But in my opinion, the administration is doing this in the right order by focusing on coverage first. Why? Because reducing costs will ultimately require at minimum two things: paying doctors less, and no longer paying for unnecessary tests and treatments that have no medical merit.

Remember, “reducing health care costs” directly translates into somebody, be it doctor, lab tech, administrator, and even facility support staff getting a salary cut or losing their job entirely. If the pushback against this reform bill seems bad now, just wait until the goal of reform becomes to literally put people out of work.

Given those facts, tackling coverage instead of cost first seems like the right way to go. First, it’s easier, and it at least gets the reform ball rolling. Second, you have to give people something (universal coverage they don’t have to worry about) before you can take away something else, such as the ability to have every test and treatment they think they deserve because they saw an ad for it on TV or read about it on the internet. Taking things away first is not a political winner.

My workspace

Here’s my computer desk. Three monitors definitely helps…

Think About The Way

The latest Think About The Way is posted here. Not sure what I think of it yet. Full text below the jump.

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Another Windows 7 woe

I’ve been using Windows 7 now for a couple weeks, and for the most part, it’s working great. However, I recently discovered another problem, and sadly, it doesn’t seem to be one that’s limited to me: problems with sharing a printer with a Mac

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Health care and "freedom"

Ask anybody who has had their house foreclosed upon if the government guarantees a place to live.

Ask anybody who has lost their job if the government guarantees employment.

Ask anybody visiting a food shelf if the government even guarantees a minimum amount of food on the table.

In the U.S., the government guarantees next to nothing. A lot of people have a problem with this, but given the lack of serious attempts to change this in decades, it seems that people in the U.S. accept this situation as just fine.

So it’s pretty hard for me to take people seriously when they say that health care reform and a public option is a major blow against “freedom”, that such government intrusion is a takeover.

If we are going to have just one guarantee in this country, let it be this: that a person who has lost their home, lost their job, or even doesn’t have enough money to eat can still get access to the health care and prescription drugs that keep them alive.

I don’t think that is too much to ask.

Where are the free-market proponents?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that there is currently a shortage of H1N1 flu vaccine, and that as a result receivers of the vaccine are being prioritized. High-risk groups, such as young children and health care workers, are getting it ahead of other groups. Even with this prioritization, clinics and phone lines are being overwhelmed by people looking for the vaccine, and shortages have canceled some planned clinics.

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