Tag Archives: McCain

Health Care CEO Misleads Using Numbers

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.

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More Lies Supporting Expelled: The Movie

Pseudo-Science

Pseudo-Science

Ben Stein is putting his smirk and whiny voice to ads for the DVD release of Expelled: The Movie, No Intelligence Allowed. Christmas is just around the corner and a rotten lump of pseudo-scientific coal makes such a great stocking stuffer for the kids. In the ads, Mr. Stein claims Expelled is the #1 documentary of 2008. I think not. Let’s check the stats. Expelled grossed about 7.7 million and opened in 1052 theaters, while Bill Mahr’s documentary Religulous grossed 10.6 million and only opened in 502 theaters. If Mr. Stein is alluding to the reviews of Expelled making it #1, then he is wrong on that point, too. Most reviews were resoundingly negative. For example, The New York TImes said,

Mixing physical apples and metaphysical oranges at every turn “Expelled” is an unprincipled propaganda piece that insults believers and nonbelievers alike. In its fudging, eliding and refusal to define terms, the movie proves that the only expulsion here is of reason itself.

Finally, if you go to the Expelled website you can crash their ironic poll asking, “Do you think Darwin’s theories are outdated?” If Darwin is over-the-hill, then creationism is fossilized. I made a funny.

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Obama, A Conservative’s Nightmare

In 2000 I feared a George Bush presidency, but I never seriously thought Bush was the devil’s disciple or that he would bring on the apocalypse. I just thought Bush would bring terrible policies. And he did. He dirtied America with his rotten conservative values, reckless decision making, and heavy handed foreign policy. But his slimy fingerprints on our beautiful country can be wiped away, and Bush can be relegated to the mistakes pile.

Eight years later and conservative pundits are screaming that America as we know it is going to be destroyed by an Obama presidency. For example, Michael Medved, movie critic, radio hack, and cheerleader for intelligent design, is crying that changes brought about by a President Obama would be “permanent and devastating”.

But conservatives need to face the fact that Barack Obama has promised profound systemic changes that will be irreversible—absolutely permanent alterations of our economy and government where there is no chance at all that Republican office-holders of the future could in any way repair the damage.

Medved uses the prospect of higher taxes to spread a little fear amongst conservatives. But he makes a serious mistake in his thinking.

Yes, it’s true that some changes by liberal presidents can be erased by future conservatives – for instance, George W. Bush cut the top marginal tax rate to 35%, after it had risen to 39.6% under Clinton (it’s sure to go back up to the Clinton rate – or higher – under Obama).

Conservatives often cite tax rates the same way twelve-year-old boys recite baseball stats. The problem is that a tax rate, a percentage, does not equal the actual amount of tax collected. Corporations, and the ultra rich, have perfected the art of moving profits and assets offshore. They also know how to reap the benefits of corporate welfare. So, wealthy conservatives exaggerate their tax burden. What do they want, to have a lower tax rate than the middle class?

Medved goes on to list what Obama will bring to America: “Homosexual marriage”, “subsidized health insurance”, “The National Endowment for the Arts”, liberal immigration, etc. Medved ends with:

The conservative movement, and the survival of a viable small-government faction in American politics, depends upon a McCain victory in November. A triumph for Barack Obama, combined with Democratic gains in both House and Senate, could easily usher in a dark new era with decades of corrupt, welfare-state, bureaucratic leftist rule.

This nightmare of Medved’s is purely of his own twisted imagination. A liberal agenda might indeed be enacted, but will it force America into “a dark new era”? The answer is no. I don’t even think Medved believes this. Conservative pundits use fear mongering as a tool to whip the masses into an angry froth. And what’s more effective than screaming “liberal”, “socialist”, “terrorist”, and “anti-American”. Medved isn’t a commentator, he’s a professional propagandist. If Obama does damage America, it will endure. American is not as fragile as the wacko conservatives would like you to think. If Obama scrares you, it’s because you’re too impressionable.

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Sarah Palin, Not A News Hound

Is it me or does Sarah Palin sound here like she could be George Bush’s equally dumb sister? I don’t know how to interpret her answer to Katie Couric’s question. Does Palin not read newspapers or news magazines, or does she not remember any of the titles of her favorite periodicals? Either way, it doesn’t look good on  camera. Her style is more appropriate for an unctuous saleswoman than a Washington politician. I can picture her now trying to sell me an insurance policy or a time-share in Miami Beach.

If I didn’t already know her belief in creationism, then I would have guessed. It follows that Curious George, the monkey, must be a Democrat, or at least a libertarian, because ultra-conservative, Christian Republicans don’t seem to give a rat’s ass about the wide world outside their bubbles of ignorance.

P.S. Check out how defensive McCain gets when Palin’s qualifications are questioned.

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The Presidential Election Is Over, Obama Won

The best method of grabbing people’s attention – and selling more advertising – is dramatically covering daily events in a simplistic manner, which is what the news media does every day. People don’t like having things explained to them in detail. Example, I never hear reporters actually mention more than one poll at a time. They typically shove the most dramatic poll in our faces, the one with the largest spread. And they ignore the mass of polls – the bigger picture – which would give us the most accurate measurement of what’s actually going on.

Check out the electoral map of the presidential election at RealClearPolitics. Some media people give the map a superficial glance and claim McCain has the advantage or that Obama and McCain are tied. But if we look at the list of polls for each state, and count how many polls Obama and McCain actually won we see a different picture emerge. (Averaging can be deceptive; a modal analysis is often better).

In the above video, the commentator asks what if McCain were to win Michigan. But he doesn’t delve into the details of the Michigan polls. Out of 30 polls McCain barely wins 7. So, is it even a realistic scenario to begin with? I don’t even see why the media keeps defining Michigan as a battleground state. Michigan is going to Obama.

From the mode of the state polls Obama is also likely to win Colorado and New Mexico. If the solid blue states stay blue, then Obama has the advantage and will win the election with 273 electoral votes. At least this is my prediction. Don’t forget to vote.

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Elect Sarah Palin To The PTA… And No Further

I once sat through a sales pitch at the airport Holiday Inn that was not much different than being subjected to Sarah Palin’s gloppy spiel. The “seminar” I attended was a on how to get rich quick in real estate. It was free and I was bored. So, it was purely a whim on my part, one that turned into an unintended source of comedy… for me.

Well, many Republicans have speaking styles similar to unctuous and smarmy sales folk. Just watch that self-satisfied git on CNN, Glenn Beck. With his cornball sense of humor and conceited tone, he tells the audience exactly what to think about god and country. For example, when he compared George Bush’s policies on torture to the actions of Batman; The Dark Knight.

The ability to reduce complex political and social issues to over-simplified caricatures seems to be the modus operandi of the Republican Party. Alaska needs a new natural gas pipeline? Well, Sarah Palin says, “God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built. So pray for that.”

After listing the basic infrastructural needs of Alaska, the “cop cars, public schools, the roads“,  Palin said, “All that stuff doesn’t do any good if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with god“.

Salesmen and saleswomen often use props to drive their point home. Maybe they’ll present a colored chart or a boring slide show. Not Sarah Plain. She’s got the biggest and cheapest prop of all, the invisible hand of god.

So, at the risk of sounding sexist – I beg you not to elect this dumb broad to office. But if you want to vote for a bitchy, holier-than-thou, empty headed, self-anointed, princess, then go right ahead. If she is elected, the PTA will be shy one vacuous soccer mom. And the White House will be up one nitwit politician. I can hear the laughter of foreign leaders now. Palin doesn’t even understand the basics of the US housing market. How the hell is she going to deal with the rest of the world?

Finally, there’s her policy of teaching creationism in the public schools. One more step toward making American public education the best in the third-world.

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Partying With Lincoln

The Republicans cry “Lincoln” and “let slip the dogs of war” when they are desperate for support. “We are the party of Lincoln“, they say. “We are the party of patriotism“, they say. But I think to call the modern Republican Party the party of Lincoln is like calling McDonald’s fast food authentic Scottish Cuisine.

A political party can be divided into the powerful people who run it and the voters who support it at the polls. When Lincoln was elected President, the Republican Party was considered progressive and the party of the urban elite. America was mostly an agricultural nation at the time, in the process of becoming a major industrial one. In contrast, the Democratic Party was the party of slavery and of the rural poor and the country elite. But political times change.

William Jennings Bryan, the lawyer who helped prosecute in the 1925 Scopes Trial, was a staunch Democrat. (He had served as Secretary of State under President Wilson, a major racist). Bryan supported the common man, prohibition, labor unions, and creationism. He spent the last years of his life fighting against Social-Darwinism and the teaching of evolution.

Modern Republicans pander to rural and suburban America. They court the “soccer moms“,  “The Heart Of American“, and “The Bible Belt“. Modern Democrats court everyone else. A demographic map denoting the blue vs. the red states is simplistic, but it does demonstrate where a party is strongest. McCain isn’t in San Francisco, and Obama isn’t in Boise. The maps have shifted since 186o. The Democratic Party, once the party of slavery, racism, and creationism, is now supporting a black “evolutionist” for president.

The Republican Party is now the party of Chuck Norris, and the Democratic Party is the party of science. I don’t know about you, but I’m voting for science.

P.S. McCain is a computer illiterate.

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