Sunday, February 24, 2013

ObamaCare: The Neutron Bomb That Will Decimate Employment

Of Two Minds ^ | 22 February 2013 | Charles Hugh Smith

ObamaCare will act as a neutron bomb on employment in the U.S. for two basic reasons. Longtime readers know I have repeatedly explained why healthcare, i.e. sickcare, will bankrupt the nation. Here are two of the dozens of entries I've written on sickcare: America's Hidden 8% VAT: Sickcare (May 10, 2012) Can Chronic Ill-Health Bring Down Great Nations? Yes It Can, Yes It Will (November 23, 2011)
I have also explained why ObamaCare's "fixes" are simulacra reforms that don't even address the systemic costs arising from the cartel-fiefdom structure of sickcare:
Why "Healthcare Reform" Is Not Reform, Part I (December 28, 2009)
Why "Healthcare Reform" Is Not Reform, Part II (December 29, 2009)
Sickcare is unsustainable for a number of interlocking reasons: defensive medicine in response to a broken malpractice system; opaque pricing; quasi-monopolies/cartels; systemic disconnect of health from food, diet and fitness; fraud and paperwork consume at least 40% of all sickcare funds; fee-for-service in a cartel system; employers being responsible for healthcare, and a fundamental absence of competition and transparency.
Please glance at these charts to see how the U.S. healthcare costs are double those of competing nations on a per capita basis. Japan provides care for a mere 36% per person of what the U.S. spends--yet millions of Americans remain uninsured or underinsured.
If you set out to design a corrupt, inefficient, wasteful, unfair, deranged and unreformable system, you would arrive at U.S. healthcare.
[charts and diagrams]
86% of Workers Are Obese or Have Other Health Issue Just 1 in 7 U.S. workers is of normal weight without a chronic health problem.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), i.e. ObamaCare, is a neutron bomb for employment. A neutron bomb is an enhanced-radiation thermonuclear weapon that famously leaves buildings, autos, etc. intact but kills all the people, even those inside buildings. vehicles, etc.
ObamaCare will act as a neutron bomb on employment in the U.S. for two basic reasons:
1. It is immensely complex, and already-marginalized small business owners will shed employees or simply close rather than have to figure out what all those thousands of pages of regulations and statutes mean to the survival of their business.
2. ObamaCare's primary mechanisms of lowering costs, insurance exchanges and technocratic selection of "best care practices," do nothing to change the systemic flaws of sickcare.
Many other commentators have already outlined how ObamaCare is driving employers to replace fulltime workers with part-time workers to avoid having to pay outrageously expensive monthly healthcare insurance premiums. In this sense, the ObamaCare neutron bomb is already decimating fulltime employment.
I see this response as a Corporate-America strategy. Corporate America has the human resources infrastructure and financial heft to figure out compliance and exploit loopholes in the insanely complex law. Small business has neither the infrastructure nor the financial resources. Small business owners will rely on the same cartels that are currently providing insurance for guidance, and of course the ObamaCare offerings will suit the financial needs of sickcare cartels.
Once small business owners see the costs of their options, some may opt to pay the penalties and others may follow the corporate strategy of turning each fulltime job into two part-time jobs to avoid paying for coverage or penalties, but many will choose instead to call it quits: either downsize to a one-person/one-household business with no employees at all, or sell/close the enterprise and escape the burdens.
What the lobbyists and attorneys who wrote the Obamacare monstrosity do not understand (because they have no exposure to or experience in the real economy) is the fragility of most small businesses: costs keep rising but revenues are stagnant. The mental and financial stresses keep rising, and ObamaCare does nothing to mitigate either source of stress.
The inside-the-Beltway types who crafted this mess have no idea of the pressures facing legitimate (non-black-market) business in America, corporate and small business alike.
ObamaCare offers even more incentives for Corporate America to offshore operations, and it provides powerful incentives to millions of marginal small businesses to shut down or shed all employees.
I am not alone in simply not wanting to waste the time, money and energy required to understand the new law and its various impacts on my business. We will cling to our already insanely expensive private healthcare insurance, which by the way has been grandfathered in: new self-employed entrepreneurs won't be able to buy the absurdly costly policy we have--they will be offered a range of even worse deals, with higher costs and less coverage.
[chart]
The neutron bomb has gone off, unseen by politicos and the Elites who wrote the bill. It is already decimating fulltime employment, and it will soon add momentum to the free-fall erosion of small business growth and employment.
The strip malls and office parks will still be standing; there just won't be many employees in them.

The First Car Phone Was The Civil War Telegraph Wagon!

Jalopnik ^ | 2/21/13 | Jason Torchinsky

It's always a tricky thing to try and pinpoint the first of anything. The first working automobile, the first powered flight, the first beer of the night — all these things are usually surrounded by an impenetrable haze of uncertainty and occasionally, vomit. Often we can make some pretty decent guesses, but this time I feel pretty confident in making an out-and-out statement of what I think is fact:
The first vehicles with on-board electrical communication systems were Civil War Telegraph Wagons.
That means those battery-crammed wooden wagons are the direct ancestor of cars with radios, radiophones, car phones, all the way down to you sitting in your car with your iPhone or whatever in your hand.
Let that sink in.
(Excerpt) Read more at jalopnik.com ...

Raman spectroscopy for bedside cancer diagnosis

Chemistry World ^ | 20 February 2013 | Jessica Cocker

Doctor examines patient
Doctors could soon be using Raman spectroscopy to peform 'optical biopsies' of tumours © Shutterstock
Currently the only way to identify whether a suspicious lump is something to be concerned about is to have it removed surgically and then examined by histological review. But a new diagnostic technique based around Raman spectroscopy could provide a faster diagnosis without the need for such invasive procedures.
Raman Spectroscopy has been used previously to distinguish benign and metastatic axillary lymph nodes (in the breast) and mediastinal nodes (in the oesophagus). Now Nicholas Stone and co-workers at the University of Exeter, UK have now applied the technique to distinguish between different cancerous conditions of lymph nodes in the head and neck.
Performing Raman spectroscopy by means of a needle, an ‘optical biopsy’ of enlarged lymph nodes could be obtained, making diagnosis quicker. The procedure could be carried out in a clinic, rather than an operating theatre, helping to reduce the number of surgical procedures performed every year.
Dr Ghulam Nabi, an expert in cancer detection from the University of Dundee, UK confirms that Stone’s work has the potential to advance the diagnostics of early cancer stages, but warns ‘for this work to be translated into clinical practise, real-time in vivo data would be needed.’
Stone agrees, and has recently developed a Raman needle probe prototype that is able to measure Raman signals in just a few seconds. He says the next step will be to maximise the signals obtained to minimise measurement time and ensure the probe gives reproducible signals.
Stone’s group are also thinking about how to scale up the manufacture of the probes in the future. Once this has been achieved the technique could be used to identify the many solid lesions of unknown pathology, such as cancers in solid organs, as well as the best place for localised treatment injections.

References

N. Stone et. al., Analyst, 2013, DOI: 10.1039/c2an36579k

President Barack "I Didn't Do It" Obama (Lying Comes Natural To Liberals)

Townhall.com ^ | February 24, 2013 | Derek Hunter

It’s one thing for a politician to “massage” the truth ... it happens all the time. But it’s quite another for one to so brazenly repeat an easily disprovable lie.

But, as in the case of President Obama and sequestration, when the fear of being caught in a lie is removed because those charged with being “watchdogs” are active participants, brazenly lying carries no more risk than saying “hello.”

Sequester, automatic across-the-board reductions in the rate of increase in government spending – commonly and lazily called “spending cuts” by the media – was the spawn of the Obama administration. You’d never know it to hear him talk about it. During the campaign the president lied repeatedly about the origin of this monster, but he was the Dr. Frankenstein here.

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, in a piece not posted to the Internet until a time generally reserved for incriminating government document dumps (5:59 pm Friday), reminded the world, “The automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors...”

The president approved the plan put forth by his employees and, in direct contrast to his current rhetoric, agreed to a deal with Republicans that “included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.”

He has since won re-election, which apparently means any agreement made beforehand is not only no longer valid, but never happened. The media, too busy focusing on the important issues facing the country such as complaining about not getting a picture of the president with Tiger Woods, haven’t bothered to point out any of this.

Rather than the tough medicine President Obama created to begin, on a miniscule scale, addressing our ballooning government spending, he treats sequester as a Frankenstein’s monster birthed by Republicans. But, as Woodward reminds us, paternity lies firmly at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

I’m not one who is concerned with sequestration. The federal government is spending $1 trillion more per year now than it did in 2008. That’s an astronomical increase in government in four years. The idea that shaving what amounts to a rounding error off the budget will bring about Armageddon is worthy of mockery. If, that is, we had an honest media doing the job it is supposed to do.

But we don’t have an honest media, and as such we have a president predicting things that make doomsday preppers seem like mellow pot smokers.

Should this slight slowing of the increase in future government spending come to pass, Obama told the world, “Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced. FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country. Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find childcare for their kids. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.”

In what seems more like a rejected flashback storyline for “The Walking Dead” TV show, the president of the United States wants the American people to believe a less than 2 percent “cut” in government spending, after increasing it by more than a third in four years, will bring about end times. Criminals will roam the countryside as unattended children consume rancid uninspected meats, airports become bumper-car worlds and everyone dies, uneducated, of cancer.

Yet Republicans in the House have passed two alternatives to across-the-board cuts, which are collecting dust in the Democrat-controlled Senate. If Democrats really want compromise they simply have to pass their own alternative and hammer out the differences in a conference committee, the way legislation is passed in Congress. But they haven’t, and they won’t.

Democrats, in spite of their panicked protestations, aren’t seeking a “deal;” they’re pre-emptively assigning blame.

The last quarter of 2012 saw the economy shrink .01 percent. If the economy shrinks again in the first quarter of 2013 we will officially be back in a recession. That would be the Obama recession. They can’t have that. The blame, that is, not the recession. That’s why we had the president on Al Sharpton’s radio show saying Republicans would rather harm the economy than “close loopholes” on the rich.

In an attempt to preemptively shift blame, we get the “We’re all gonna die if Republicans don’t stop being so uncooperative” press event we saw from the president last Tuesday.

But since Google exists, anyone – except, it seems, journalists – can find this quote from President Obama in 2011 on this very subject saying, “Already, some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off ramps on this one.”

If we were truly facing the Thunderdome-esque future he is now claiming, why would President Obama threaten to veto “ANY EFFORT” to replace the “meat cleaver” with a scalpel just 15 months ago?

The answer is obvious – he, as Bob Woodward pointed out, is lying.

There’s an old episode of The Simpsons where Bart becomes famous for causing a disaster on television then looking into the camera and saying, “I didn’t do it.” President Obama is employing this strategy with his economy and sequester. While the audience was in on the joke when Bart did it, we’re the butt of it now. And the throne-sniffing media is only too happy to help.