Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
“We have now imprisoned one generation of debtors after another, but we do not find that their numbers lessen. We have now learned that rashness and imprudence will not be deterred from taking credit; let us try whether fraud and avarice may be more easily restrained from giving it.” - Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
The Economist: A special report on debt. Repent at leisure
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Medical Loss Ratios & Health Insurance: Are You A "Constructionist" or an "Activist?" asks the question: "Will the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (PPACA) 80% to 85% MLR requirement make this mash-up "better?" and suggests there are two ways to look at the subject (... what the writer terms "constructionist" and "activist", and not "yes" or "no").
Medical Loss Ratio: What Really Counts As Quality? asks the question, and gets answers/opinions from five 'experts.'
Meanwhile the Department of Health and Human Services is drawing up the regulations (on this subject) that insurers will have to follow to satisfy the new health law's requirement that insurers spend either 85% of premiums collected on medical expenses (large group market ) or 80% of premiums (small group and individual markets)...
A prediction: in a relatively short period of time, and as a result of this legislation, no health plans will have MLRs that exceed the statutory requirements... (though many do currently).
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Its conclusion? "There have been many attempts over the past one hundred and fifty years to help increase the quality of life for the Dalits of India... Minor increases in incentives for Dalits to pursue primary education have been beneficial, but not sufficient in equalizing the enrolment gap between the Dalits and members of upper castes. In order for significant progress to be made in increasing the primary enrolment rates of Dalit children, development organizations must continue to explore varying levels of incentives and pursue national social equality in India..."
My conclusion: much more needs to be done... much, much more, to eradicate the evils of caste.
Updates - #3 - Aug 25th, 2008
Frame of Reference - June 27th 2008
Caste - May 26th 2008
Note: From the picture source link, read the accompanying text:
On the economic front, the landowners controlled the economy of the village. Land ownership was confined to the upper castes, while the lower castes eked their living by selling their labour. Payment to the lower castes was rarely in cash, and was instead given in the form of foodstuffs, paid once a year.
There were numerous social restrictions on the lower castes: lower caste people were not permitted to enter the upper caste areas freely, on the pain of physical punishment. Lower caste men were required to step off the road if an upper caste person was using it.
Lower caste children were allowed into the nearby school (not shown in the figure), but had to sit on the floor at the sides of the class room; the benches were for the use of upper-caste children. Girl children who reached puberty were not permitted to continue schooling, irrespective of their community of birth.
There was one bore well in the village that supplied drinking water, which the lower castes were forbidden to use. The untouchables had their own (open) well.."
Friday, June 25, 2010
This blogger recently ran across this article, They Keep Stealing - Why Keep Paying? Reading this it has become clear that the process is now completed, and memories have been 'sanitized' No one retains any responsibility except for "them" (unnamed banks, CEO, and other assorted guilty...), everyone else is a victim...
Quote: "... You didn't cause this mess. They did. Now you are struggling to make the same payments on this mortgage on your now overpriced home even in light of a crashing economy and massive deflation, all while the government does everything in its power to help Wall St. keep the bonuses coming. Well, it is becoming time to take matters into your own hands... I suggest that you call your lender and tell them if they don't lower you mortgage by at least 20%, you are walking away. And if they don't agree, you need to consider walking away..."
Hmm, this is the best way of guaranteeing that this will happen again!
Thank you California and Florida - October 26th, 2008
The elephant (and donkey) in the room - October 25th, 2008
Mortgage mess - October 7th, 2008
Wall Street vs. Main Street – October 1st, 2008
Crashing the party– September 27th, 2008
Confused and nowhere to go (updated) – September 24th, 2008
Truth RIP (updated 9/22) – September 22nd, 2008
Finely calibrated reactions – September 16th, 2008
Fannie and Freddie – September 10th, 2008
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – July 24th, 2008
Mortgage meltdown (update) - April 1st, 2008
Mortgage meltdown – March 31st, 2008
Housing Stories III – July 29th, 2008
Housing stories – II – May 6th, 2008
Housing stories – April 5th, 2008
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This recent article, 'Indonesia: Pengendum Tampung, "We don’t have birth certificates. You can’t do much without one", reinforces the point... while speaking of the many problems faced by his people - the indigenous "people of the forest" (Orang Rimba) in Indonesia - Pengedum Tampung says "... Orang Rimba don’t have birth certificates. You can’t do much in the outside world without one. You can’t vote or buy a motorbike or mobile phone. You can’t go to a regular school either..."
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The Feb 4th, 2008 blog entry, prompted by the lawsuit that the Quaids had filed against heparin-maker Baxter following the Cedars-Sinai medical error that gave their twins a serious overdose, disagreed with their contention that "... since a medical error in administration could lead to a dangerous or fatal result, the background colors should have been different... and... the vials should have been in completely distinguishable size and shape..." The entry argued that color-coding "... would contribute to the natural tendency of folks to use color and/or shape and size as a proxy or 'shortcut'. It could well be argued that making every label color uniform would improve patient safety, as providers would then be obliged to actually read the label and confirm the drug/dose rather than rely on color or some other visual cue.." and suggested that Quaid concentrate on other systems changes, such as bar-coding. Well, Quaid has joined up with others and is doing yeoman work spreading the word on preventing medical errors, see the Quaid Initiative for more information... However, he still seems to believe that color-coding would have helped, as evidenced by his re-filing of a lawsuit against Baxter in a different venue...
The subsequent Aug 18th, 2008 entry criticized Quaid for setting up his own foundation for attacking the problem of medication errors, rather than working with existing bodies... Well, in April 2010 the Quaid Foundation merged with The Texas Medical Institute of Technology (TMIT) - "... a medical research organization, founded in 1984, dedicated to accelerating performance solutions that save lives, save money, and build value in the communities we serve and ventures we undertake. Our core values drive our behaviors and in turn drive our culture. TMIT applies the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) design principles of patient-centeredness, evidence-based medicine, and systems performance improvement..."
Is this a good idea? This blogger would think not. In fact the pictorial examples that they present (see above, more examples at the link) as prima facie examples of problems are exactly what this blogger would argue for i.e. identical label color schemes - so that providers have to read the labels to know the ingredient rather than relying on color-related short cuts.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Previously blog entries referencing Turkmenbashi:
Brief Update... - Nov 4th, 2009
January is back - May 1st, 2008
OPED27 Turkmenbashi - no laughing matter - Sept 6th, 2002
Previous barcode-related blog entries:
Misc. barcode updates - Jun 3rd, 2010
Barcode happiness - II - Apr 11th, 2010
Barcode happiness - I - Apr 11th, 2010
Misc update - Jan 30th, 2010
Barcode update - Dec 29th, 2009
No luck - Dec 15th, 2009
QR codes to hit the U.S.? - Dec 13th, 2009
Misc. update (BB/2D barcodes) - Aug 22nd, 2009
QR update - May 19th, 2009
BB & 2D barcodes - Apr 21st, 2009
Last month the "Group of Experts" (chaired by Madeleine Albright) presented their recommendations on what NATO's new Strategic Concept should be... This also touched upon relations with Russia: "... It is clearly in NATO’s best interest to work with Moscow to build a cooperative Euro-Atlantic security order and to respond to such shared concerns as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, piracy and drug trafficking. “Partnership … is a two way street – but from the Alliance perspective, the door to cooperation with Moscow should remain open at all levels.” Some (e.g. see the Armchair Generalist's commentary linked below)
This month the Ukraine's parliament approved a bill prohibiting NATO accession, although Ukranian President Yanukovich did rule out recognizing South Ossetia or Abkhazia...
Ukraine drops NATO membership bid
Yanukovych Won't Recognize South Ossetia or Abkhazia
NATO's door remains open to Ukraine
NATO 2020: Assured security; dynamic engagement (Group of Experts Report)
NATO's Uncertain Future
Recently Just 2% of people in J&K want to join Pak: Survey reported that a "... study by Robert Bradrock, a scholar from London's Kings College, that involved interviewing 3,774 people in both parts of Kashmir in September-October 2009 showed that 44% of people on the Pakistani side favoured independence, compared to 43% in Indian Kashmir. Bradrock says in the 37-page report on the survey that this would put an end for all times to come to the plebiscite route as a possible way to resolve Kashmir, since the only two options envisaged under the UN resolutions proposing plebiscite in 1948/49 were for the whole of Kashmir to join either India or Pakistan; azadi was not an option. But in the Valley, the mood for azadi still remained strong, with 75%-95% respondents favouring that as a final resolution..." This blogger continues to believe that Kashmiri independence is the way to go...