Tag Archives: CNN
Many opponents of health care reform are throwing numbers around, making it sound like the health care industry is barely profitable. They claim a 2-3% profit margin. It’s a half-truth –that 2-3% is, in fact, the percentage of total revenue, which is different from net return on investment. For example, CNN Business lists fortune 500 industries by profit margin of total revenue.
If I make $2 for every $100 I collect in revenue that’s 2%. But if I make $2 million for every $100 million I collect that also 2%. If my operating costs are 20% of my gross profit (the insurance company average is about 17%), then in the former example my net profit is $1.60, a 400% return on my $0.40 investment. In the latter example it would be $1.6 million, also a 400% return. In both I keep 80% of the gross. In other words, the health care industry’s revenue is ginormous, and its operating costs are low. There’s tons of wiggle room for profit even with having to pay out medical claims.
No one would stay in any business with a 2-3% net return on investment when CD bank rates are 2.85% for a 5 year certificate. With those numbers a business might as well invest its money and do nothing. The real numbers show that the health care industry’s return on share holder equity is 16%. Not a bad return at all. But if you accept the profit margin lie, then the health care companies must be operating at a major loss, which we know isn’t true.
The rugged gentleman on the left is Captain Ahab (as played by actor Gregory Peck), the obsessed whaler who hunts down Moby-Dick, the great white symbolic whale. The individual on the right is Australian-born conservative Christian, Ken Ham, the crazed founder of the infamous, Kentucky creation ‘museum’. Is it just me or is there a slight similarity between the two –in appearance and obsession level? If you don’t see it, then just pretend for the sake of the cartoon.
CNN has put up a poll asking readers if they think time travel will one day be possible. And they qualify the results by stating that “this is not a scientific poll.” And here I was thinking the interns at CNN were all part-time physicists. Boy, do I feel ignorant. For tomorrow’s poll, I suggest the question – Will broadcast news ever recruit talent directly from high-school newspapers? But I’m also left wondering what would have happened if the readers had mistaken it for a ‘real’ scientific poll. Pandemonium, perhaps? I guess we’ll never know.
Will time travel be possible some day?This is not a scientific pollNo 70% 21922Yes 30% 9214Total votes: 31136This is not a scientific poll
Here we go. Obama’s real birth certificate is finally revealed. He was born in a foreign land in a galaxy far, far, far, far away. That’s why he’s of superior intelligence –and why his uber-detractors appear moronic in comparison. But not even Obama is perfect; he was born to parents who were only moderately telepathic. See, it’s right there on the form, plain as day, near the top -01001001001. And check out his given, middle name -011101101010. Ha, ha, ha! It’s the same as the last name of an infamous inter-galactic gangster who’s wanted in three systems for spice smuggling. And it’s all certified by an android registrar, there at the bottom. And androids don’t lie.
The hard-core birthers –the ones who are mulishly clinging to the belief that Obama was born in Kenya– are now waving about an obvious forgery of a Kenyan, birth certificate, as proof of their conspiracy theory. Take a look at the so-called document. This is perhaps the first birth certificate I’ve seen that fails to mention any details of the baby –no weight, or race, or time of birth. Obama’s mother was Caucasian and his father was black, and that certainly would have been recorded, especially in the 1960’s. Thousands of white Europeans were living in Kenya –a British colony back then. A birth to a mixed-racial couple surely would not have gone unrecorded. But no section for entering race is even provided on the form. And no section is provided for the doctor’s name, signature, or office address. What’s most suspicious is the size of the paper and all the wasted space. Would a birth certificate from that time period would be printed on a full 8.5″ x 11″ sheet? –the document in question is clearly of those dimensions. My own birth certificate is a third that size. The whole point of using small paper is that printed records are traditionally stored in filing cabinets, or boxes, or large books, which take up space. So, the smaller the better. In a single lifetime, or beyond, how many times is an official, government copy of a birth certificate going to be accessed — once or twice, or never? Searching through a filing cabinet full of 8.5″ x 11″ papers –which are generally stored horizontally –is highly inefficient, unless Kenya’s civil servants are trained to hold their heads tilted to one side for extended periods of time.
P.S. Every popular conspiracy theory appears to contain the same contradiction. According to the theorists, the powerful conspirators are resourceful enough to orchestrate a grand lie, but not so much when it comes to keeping it a secret. They always leave a trail for the amateurs to follow. Not a very likely scenario.
All the other flaws in this forgery are listed here.
A site called KansasCity.com posts a column called Midwest Voices, and a professor emeritus of economics from the University of Notre Dame –Larry Marsh–has written an absurd piece insisting that if one accepts evolution then it follows that one must accept free-market economics, and therefore reject socialism; forget that the former is a science and the latter is a social policy.
Marsh begins with:
Is life fundamentally bottom-up and randomly designed or top-down and intentionally designed? Are you a socialist-creationist or a free-market evolutionist? If you reject this dichotomy and instead view yourself as a socialist-evolutionist, how can you justify arguing for the power of self-organization and unintentional, benevolent design in biology and against it in economics?
The gist of his column is that he thinks living under the umbrella of a free-market economy naturally benefits all individuals, which he sees as analogous to individual ants benefiting from being part of a colony –which is actually organized from bottom up rather from the top down (i.e. government). As Marsh says, “The queen ant is not a commander ant. The colony just consists of individual ants instinctively following their nature”.
I suppose he’s saying it’s our nature to be capitalistic. And by following our nature we all profit. Oh, but what a magnificently lame philosophy it is. Invoking Adam Smith and Charles Darwin, as Marsh does, and setting them up against socialist Karl Marx and creationist William Paley may sound good on paper, while sitting in the comfy chair inside a professor’s air-conditioned office, but reality isn’t so pretty.
Hasn’t Marsh heard the estimate that 99.9% of all species that have ever lived have gone extinct? Or that historically the average rates of extinction and speciation have been about equal? (Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck by David Raup) Or that most offspring in the wild don’t make it to adulthood? The female Clownfish (anemone fish), for example, lays up to 1000 eggs in a clutch, but predation, genetic misfortune, and physical mishaps will likely destroy all but a tiny fraction. Mother Nature may recycle, but she’s a wasteful and inefficient bitch.
Should our economy be run in this fashion? Do we want General Motors using this model? Say for every one car it produces 100 will be junked. Or for every profitable loan Bank Of America makes, 100 will be bad debt. How long would the economy last?
That ‘radical’ Richard Dawkins has often said evolution is not a template for society; he likes to quote Tennyson –“nature, red in tooth and claw”. But through Marsh’s naive non-biologist eyes, evolution is not just an explanation for the origin and diversification of new species, it’s an instructive manual on how to live one’s life.
Marsh sounds like he accepts evolution, and as an academic he may well think he’s performing a double-whammy service by conflating it with capitalism, but he’s only cherry picking the parts of evolution that fit in with his economic views.