U.S. Politics: Universal Health Care

Recently my wife and I visited Washington DC and met up with one of her friends who lives there.  They were lamenting that the ACA actually raised their Health Insurance costs rather than reduce it.

Well…  That can happen.  And in the case for the U.S. it probably will happen.  Trying to introduce a Universal Health Care this late in the game to the U.S. is going to go through some growing pains so yes, you may see an increase but in the long run, once you have EVERYONE under the one umbrella, it should end up being way cheaper.

But Universal Health Care is not just Insurance coverage though.  In Canada, from what I know, all Health Care Institutions are Government funded which means Government dictates, or sets the costs on what operations, treatments, tests etc. should cost.  And these figures are determined based on how much the people working in health care are paid, how much machinery costs, how much medication and consumables cost etc.  So a fair price if provided.  So basically in Canada, doctors visits, hospitals and such are a fairly level playing field.

In the U.S., as far as I know, Hospitals are for profit organizations and can set their own prices for treatments and such.  This means one hospital could cost a patient a vastly different figure than a different hospital.  Not a level playing field.

Plus the drugs.  U.S. citizens are buying from Canada because the same drugs are way cheaper.  I do not know what is going on there, sounds like the government(s) in the U.S. are a bit gutless when it comes to the pharma industry.  But this is also another reason why ACA will have issues initially.  U.S. Health Care Industry is really in a mess.

Why is Universal Health Care good?  Insurance is a ‘socialistic’ ideal.  This is potentially what drives some U.S. people batty because they think ‘socialistic’ with ‘communistic’.  But all other first world countries have figured it out that a ‘socialistic/communistic’ ideal can also be a ‘capitalistic’ ideal as well.  They are not necessarily independent of each other.

So what is the ‘capitalistic’ ideal of Universal Health Care?

A healthy employee is way more productive than a sick one.  Which means your company is that much more productive.  Which means you company is making more money (hopefully).  So providing Health Care for your employees is in your benefit.  However in the U.S., the Health Care Insurance is often provided by the Employer.  Let us take GM for instance.  Back in 2015 it was reported that they were paying $2 Billion for their hourly staff (yeah sorry, old reference but times have not changed a lot, the company is still on the hook for the costs.)  That is a lot of money to spend.  Now if the the state/country provided Universal Health Care through income taxes like they do in some Provinces in Canada and like they do in most European Countries, the $2 Billion spent by the company could be used for something else or reduce costs for the company.  This saves the company money, which is a ‘capitalistic’ ideal.  +1 for Universal Health Care.

Universal Health Care means one insurance option to handle the well being of everyone.  With insurance, the larger the pool, the more likely it will weather a crisis.  Right now in the U.S. that pool is divided among many insurance companies.  This means an insurance company can easily be wiped out if there is an epidemic or something.  And because of this the cost for the insurance should be higher.  However it may not be higher currently because insurance companies in the U.S. can avoid insuring someone’s pre-existing condition.  Which is such a dick move for a Health Insurance.  ACA prevented that from happening which of course now forced companies to up their insurance premiums.  This is part of the growing pain and partly why some people saw increases.  But it is the right thing to do.  Hell, it is necessary.  Not insuring for pre-existing conditions is not much better than not having insurance at all.

But smaller pools will incur larger premiums because the risk is much poorer than one big pool.  So being ‘capitalistic’, our goal is to reduce costs, and to reduce costs of Health Care Insurance is to make one big pool to mitigate the risks.  Universal Health Care.  Capitalism = Socialism in this case.

U.S. Politics: Child Separation

More logic that does not make sense.

I work in software development.  In the past on numerous occasions we were faced with the problem of having to deal with data in either multiple locations or in one location.  Multiple locations looked appealing because it may have provided a speed improvement.  However there was a cost with separating the data.

  1. You have to maintain links between the data and ensure those links are not broken.
  2. The above links makes the code and design way more complicated and way more difficult to design and code up.
  3. Next developer in will make mistakes because the design and code is way more complicated.
  4. User has to be aware where their data is.  If they want to transport some or all of their data they have to transport data in both locations.  More headache for the user.

Having the data all together in one place makes it simpler.  Coding and design.  Plus it is also simpler for the user.  One location to worry about.

So when I heard about this child separation policy the “Trump” instituted back in April/May, I am thinkin, “wow, that is one dumb move.”  You have essentially doubled the infrastructure to house, feed, and service these people which means you are wasting tax payer money to do this.  Keeping the children with their parents/guardians means that the chore of taking care of the dependents is no longer your (government) responsibility but the responsibility of the parents/guardians.  Infrastructure is way less, simpler, and cheaper.

As a someone who claims to be a shrewd business man, POTUS dun f’ed up on this one.  This is one business case that makes no sense.

And now that he has to return the dependents back to the parents/guardians, he has just incurred more cost to the tax payer because, surprise, surprise, ICE or whoever is responsible, failed to maintain proper links between the two.  Even having to use DNA testing to make the matches apparently according to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.  Which means more expensive work needing to be done, payed for by the tax payer, because the links were not properly made to begin with.

Terrible business acumen shown by the POTUS on this situation.   This is not smart or genius.

U.S. Politics: Trump as POTUS

I find the current U.S. government odd.  It is and is not typical U.S. politics.  The blatant, selfish, short sighted, rich white man point of view of the republicans and the fanatic piss poor followers of these idiots is perfectly understandable.  That has always happened in the past and stupid does stupid.

The thing that I do not get is the blasé attitude toward the tampering of elections from inside or outside parties.  If anything U.S. has always been fairly vocal, if not fanatical, about its defense of their democracy.  So when I start hearing POTUS and other republicans dismiss the investigation of election tampering, it gives me the creeps.  A true U.S. patriot should expect fair and democratic elections and if there is so much of a whiff of wrong doing, you investigate the crap out of that!  It does not matter if you are a Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, Libertarian or sane.  A true patriot defends their democracy and not dismiss it.

I still remember many U.S. based TV shows when I was growing up about a strict republican or military dad lamenting about “Commy loving bastards” for anything remotely socialistic or having to deal with communist countries in any fashion (Russia, China, Cuba, etc.)  Right now, POTUS is a Commy loving…  Bastard…  and the kicker is he represents the Republicans as well.  Where has the U.S. gone so wrong?

Movie: Blade Runner 2049

FREEKING AWESOME!  It’s really a shame that this movie is not doing better in the theaters.  I know it is not every ones cup of tea but as Sci-Fi goes, it is a heck of a movie; and when it comes to Sci-Fi I have found quality can vary wildly in that respect.

The movie keeps the similar sort of zen like feel of the first movie and still, I didn’t feel any pacing was off.  The visuals are outstanding.  Ryan does well in his role.  A co-worker commenting that his sort of robotic acting worked to the role’s benefit.

There is room for follow up movies.  I just hope they take the same attention to detail and flavor as the did with this movie.  This is Sci-Fi.  Loved it, well worth the $15+ it costs to watch movies now a days.

I think I will opt for the 4K UHD Bluray when it comes out.  Which means I will have to pony up for a UHD BluRay player as well.

LG G4 Repaired…

Sent my unlocked LG G4 phone in for repair. The problem with the phone was a boot loop error common with LG G4s and LG extended the warranty (from date of manufacturing, not date of purchase) because of the issue. Unfortunately mine was outside this extended warranty.
 
FutureTel in Markham On., who does the repairs in Canada, initially asked if I wanted to pay $420 to fix the issue. Ah… No. From what I’ve read the repaired units can still suffer from the boot loop issue.  So I wasn’t going to pay more on this phone only to get it back and still not trust it.  Plus, $420!  There are some pretty good replacement phones you can get for that much.
 
They then asked me to phone up LG canada for a CNN#. I get one, give it to FutureTel and luckily they end up fixing it for free anyway. Yay!  Free fix!  But BOO to them for trying to get money from me initially. In my opinion, they should have done this themselves instead of bothering me with trying to get a CNN#.  Customer service apparently not one of their strong suits.  I guess it could have still gone the other way with me still having to pay for the repair which I wasn’t planning to do.
 
I now have my phone back. They apparently just swapped in a new board. Plug in my sim and… F$#*&(@(!!! It’s locked again! So I still can’t used my phone. My unlock code I used before doesn’t work either. Ugh…
 
I hesitate to say this is still a nice phone… My wife’s Nexus 4 which was LG made as well had no problems other than the battery is at the end of it’s life; it is difficult to install a new one yourself. But it seems their flag ship products are not the same robustness. I do not recommend LG.  This experience was more annoying than I expected from an expensive product.

LG G4… Live’s (not so) Good!

Ugh…  This WAS a wonderful phone.  Until just a few minutes ago.  The phone is now and ex-phone.  It has ceased to be!  Montey Python’s dead parrot skit is now running around in my head.

Battery is fine.  100% charge.  Apparently this is a hardware issue and a common one, google bootloop LG G4.  LG doesn’t seem to want to step up to the plate and admit to the issue.

For me, the phone brings up the LG screen and then eventually black/blank screen. I can’t even get to safe mode or to factory reset the phone like some videos show.

I bought the phone in end of November 2015 from Wind.  Unlocked it so I could use it on Fido.  I don’t think I have a warranty on it any more and from what I heard, repairs will only end up being a temporary fix for the problem.  In general, consensus is, get a different phone.

This makes me sad and angry.  Tech wise the phone was great.  Shame that it is now an expensive piece of tech junk.  Thankfully I’m not without a phone.  Recently I bought my wife a new Google Pixel to replace a Google Nexus 4 which seemed to be starting to act up.  She hasn’t yet moved to the new phone so looks like it will be my new phone and she’ll get a different one later when she finally gets fed up with the Nexus 4’s frustrations.  Rather pathetic lifespan.  Didn’t want to or need to upgrade the phone yet.

Sort of miss the rock solidness of my super simple Nokia ‘un-smart’ phone.  Hell my ACER Liquide was better except it needed a new battery.

Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 + Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

If you haven’t seen GotG yet, go.  It’s more comedy than action and it’s brilliant.  The opening sequence with little Groot doing his own thing among the chaos is the best opening credits I’ve seen for a movie in a long time.  Plus he steals the show a few more times in the movie.

The movie isn’t deep by any means and a bit predictable but it will not disappoint as a popcorn flick.  Drax is surprisingly funny too, which I wasn’t totally expecting.

And stay for the end credits

PotC:DMTNT is a bit lack luster.  Probably better as a rental or similar.  To me not enough craziness, comedy.  It started off promising but it seemed to me more serious than the other films.  I still liked it but not the caliber I was hoping for.

Wonder Woman is next on the list.  Apparently doing really well which I was surprised to see.  She’s not a character that, in my opinion, did really well in other films and series.

Rant: To the people who feel that taking their shoes off and placing their athletes foot stank near the back of my chair,  FFS!  Keep your rotting feet in your shoes!  Maybe partly the reason I felt the PotC seemed too real or serious.  God it smells in here.

President Trump…

I was sort of right.  If he became president there would be a lot of comedy coming from it.

The sad part is, it is really disturbing.

The good part is, Trump may actually be draining the swamp.  What?  Ok, not directly but by exposing the swamp to the voters so that hopefully the voters will be, ahem, smart enough to turf them from office the next time around.  I know I am asking a lot of the voting public in the US and there are always some who are very committed to the idea that Trump is a good thing; but then that is what happens with politics, religion and similar.  Some people stick to their beliefs and not even a flood of contrary true facts will sway them.  But let us hope the rest of the nation wises up.

Scammer, Phisher, whatever…

chriscrofts31@gmail.com

The above email owner is apparently a scammer/phisher. Probably got my cell number from hacking Kijiji where my ad is placed.

First got a cryptic text from

Text: +1 918-984-4356
Hello, Hope your TextBook still up for sale??reply to chriscrofts31@gmail.com pls no text email only…Trade Paperbacks, Graphic Novels, Single Issues

I thought a little weird although I know some software does behave poorly so I gave the benefit of the doubt and asked for clarification which books he was interested in the Kijiji ad.

Reply:
Can you assure me that i will not be disappointed with it. I’m ready to pay your asking price and to be honest the issue is that am currently out of town for my newly secure Job. So kindly get back to me with your PayPal email address so that i can proceed with the payment asap with your cell number so as for me to use it to text you immediately am done with the payment. I want you to know that i have arrange for a Pick up agent coming for the pick up after the payment clears into your account.

Um… Creepy and still didn’t answer my question on which books he wanted.  And seriously, “Pick up agent”? Some googling and I see this…

scam alert: interac email transfer reversal? personal info phishing? from Calgary

So end of conversation. Bit bucket he goes.

I still have some books left that I’m still trying to sell though.  :/

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?requestSource=b&adId=1204558364&siteLocale=en_CA