Individuals Seeking Their Own Solutions

Skyrocketing health costs?

You want a solution?

Today, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Americans are on airlines flying to Central/South American, Indian, Indonesia, and other nations for both necessary and elective surgery. Some of it is even paid for by employers.

Competition is the answer, and anytime you have Third Party Payers, whether that is government or private, there is no shopping so there is no competition.

I have been in a country’s Capitol in 1986, at a hospital in Moscow where there was government control, and no competition.

They had no hot running water, either.

The main thing about ACA is that it addresses insurance, not healthcare. No one can be denied healthcare, by law. In NYC, an illegal alien named Solis had six surgeries costing over a million dollars in one year. In San Diego, there are more than 1,000 “Frequent Flyers” who EACH ran up a million dollars over a three year period in just ambulance and Paramedic cost! They GOT healthcare.

This is about giving them a “Feel Good Card” so they can whip it out in the ER — and for this we upset 15% of the entire economy.

Mon Dieu!

And you think we have problems?

Le Monde, the left-wing Bible of France, reports last week that the French are about fed up with their Socialist President Hollandes economic policies.

In fact 70% disagree with Hollandes tax policies, perhaps because the French soccer teams intend to strike over a 75% tax on income over one million Euros a year. Some 80% of the French think the economic policies are misguided and excessive.

The fact that literally THOUSANDS of French businesspeople and even students who aspire to economic advancement have fled France has some obvious negative impact upon the Hollande popularity.

France is in more turmoil than we are and now they find their noses out of joint because it turns out that the culturally nferior Americans are tapping their phones, and the French intelligence (which is actually pretty good, and spies constantly on American businesses), has not discovered the American snooping much less blocked it!

Mon Dieu!

This is NOT About Football

Navy beat Pitt Saturday by a field-goal with one second on the clock.

This blog is not about football, and it is barely about Pitt, it is, I think, an interesting story about one of my Roommates at Annapolis.

My Roommate had all the political clout anyone ever wanted — his father was an All-American football player for Navy, a retired Admiral and was while we were at the Academy, the Athletic Director at Pitt.

(That is the tie-in.)

Not only was my roommate the son of an Admiral who was AD at Pitt, my roommate’s brother was also a noted Annapolis graduate who played for Navy.

Unfortunately, my roommate was really bright but lacked the physical coordination required at Annapolis. He couldn’t box, he couldn’t wrestle, he couldn’t swim the necessary distance in the required time, he couldn’t finish the required obstacle course…and by graduation time, it was obvious he was not going to be able to climb the required 20 foot rope, or swim the required mile…

(Climbing the rope was only half of it — you had to have strength to climb back down. One of my classmates ignored that warning, dropped 20 feet and broke a leg.)

I was assigned to tutor my uncoordinated roommate, but it was not going well.

Now, for the “Rest of the story” you need to know how failing an academic course was handled: there were several potential outcomes ranging from the bad news, getting a bus ticket home, through some better alternatives…

In the best case, you could be granted the ability to take another final exam, a MUCH tougher one in the failed subject.

At the middle level, you could be “Turned Back” which meant you went back an entire grade, to take it all over again — every course. (This led to the macabre joke among Midshipmen that Annapolis was a “Five year course, but some complete it in four!”

If you failed a course, you went before the “academic Committee” consisting of the Superintendent of the Academy (an Admiral), and the Department Heads of the dozen Departments (all Captains). It is an impressive array of brass!

That Board holds your future, and they waste no time reviewing your Academics, your physical and mental capabilities and your “Aptitude for the Service.” Afterward, they send you to the hall where there is a single chair –and you await their decision after they have a brief discussion.

As you wait, you will be alerted to the decision by a bell that was over your head: one ring, and you return to your room where someone will bring you a bus ticket home. Two bells and you return to the Board to be told if you are Turned Back or get a re-exam. The Board has been known to delay the time between the first bell (go home) and the second, more desired bell — just to torture you.

Now back to my roommate with his Admiral father, the All-American footballer, and the existing Athletic Director at the University of Pittsburgh a school we played every year in many sports. My roommate whose brother also graduated from the Academy.

My roommate failed a single course during our Second Class Year (Junior Year)

He got ONE BELL! No re-exam. No turn back. Just sent immediately home.

Surprising? Absolutely. So much for having influence.


A friend of mine who is a Very (x10) experienced Computerist just got hit with RansomWare — it encrypted the files on his wife’s computer and demanded $300 to decrypt the computer’s files.

This could be very dangerous. My friend, who shared the teaching Dias with me when I taught beginning computers in my community back when no one understood them, is a fine computer teacher. He wrote a well-regarded contact program, so he really knows computers and if he can be fooled, ANYONE can be fooled. He is the last person I would have guessed

He opened an attachment from a company he trusted, because he had previously done business with the company. The primary clue was that the attachment was a .zip file instead of the usual .pdf file.

I have checked the virus on Symantec and Snopes. It is deadly real!

Right now there is no virus program to block this sort of thing. The good news is that most reports say that paying the $300 DOES get you the key to decrypt but like paying all ransom it empowers the bully.

Please be careful of all downloads, and particularly files presuming to be tracking files from UPS and FedEX,  although my friend did not get one of those.

The bad guys are very good at what they do — or they would not be successful.


The Unions Have Won

California is rapidly becoming a Third World country of the South/Central American ilk: A warm nation with unlimited natural resources, ruled by a single political party usurping local controls; high taxes but crumbling infrastructure; increasing populations of criminals recently released; schools in name only (ranked 47th among the states by the US Department of Education)…

Those of us who have fought the fight and lost (badly) can best treat our final days as if this was Belize – endure for the benefit of warm declining days, care little about the crumbling infrastructure (just buy stronger SUVs) and ignore politics altogether. (If you lived in Belize, would you care who was elected to the City Council?)

The only remaining question is: Can a state declare bankruptcy? It is an open legal question that we could discuss – and more important that watching the Chargers lose.

The BARF System

The BART system in San Francisco has been periodically closed down with strikes, and in the end the transit authority agreed to pay the overpaid transit workers FAR more than competing agencies.

I say pay the workers $250 an hour each — then when the BART goes BK (in about a month), shut it down and mothball the system.

When the pressure to have a BART grows, reconstitute the system under new rules, new wage structure, new employees.

Problem solved, and message delivered.

Competing With Excess

San Diego Police say, correctly that their salaries cause some officers to defect to better-paying cities.

I KNOW that trying to compete with cities paying the average beat cop $122,000 a year (before overtime like Vallejo, California, is a losing game!. The claims that San Diego is losing Cops to other cities is probably right, but that simply means those cities will reach Bankruptcy Court sooner.

(I turned around a computer company for the Federal BK Court.)

Yes, my former hometown of Vallejo had many other problems, not the least of which was the closing of the Mare Island Shipyard, but the city ALSO had more than 20 firefighters who each cost the city more than $200,000,  salary and benefits. Mare Island closing was beyond the city’s control — but the OBSCENE salaries were within their control. I’ll bet even you think the Vallejo salary and benefits were over the top.

Experience is what I rely upon and I learned racing in Sports Car Club races that if you are on the edge, ANYTHING can put you over the edge whether you have control over it or not, so you have to leave a bit of room for those unexpected problems. Vallejo didn’t, and yet every city must compete in salary as its workers rush to cities even more insane?

Where is the rabbit hole? Weeks ago I wrote that parasites do not concern themselves with the health of the host — they will fight for the last bite.

Nothing has changed.