Friday, 1 November 2013

07:55 – Barbara is taking the day off work today and heading out on a day trip with her friend Bonnie. She needs the break. For the last year–the last two years, really–she’s been coping pretty much constantly with serious medical issues with her dad and mom, and now her sister’s husband. She and her sister have both essentially been on-call 24×7, so having even one day off once in a while helps. I tried to convince Barbara to turn off her cell phone today and stay completely off the grid, but she said she’d better keep it on, just in case.

We got hammered pretty badly by the Federal Follies last month. Revenues for October 2013 were only about 120% those for October 2012. I realize that most people would be delighted with 20% growth, but I’m disappointed by anything short of doubling.


09:07 – The numbers for ObamaCare signups are finally becoming public. On 1 October, the first day of sign-ups, the expected flood of sign-ups took place. ObamaCare signed up not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but SIX people. And that torrid rate has apparently continued all month. During October, HUNDREDS of people signed up for ObamaCare. The sign-ups may even have gone into FOUR FIGURES, leaving only about 99.9999% of those eligible not yet signed up. Not to worry, though. There’s still two whole months before the end of the year.

And I’m betting that nearly all of the people who’ve signed up are insurance companies’ worst nightmares, with pre-existing conditions that are hideously expensive to treat. I wonder if the health insurance companies that foolishly supported ObamaCare are finally realizing that the true purpose of ObamaCare has always been to put them out of business and force a change to a single-payer government monopoly on health insurance. If they doubt that, they need only look at the numbers: after only one month, the net effect of ObamaCare is that millions of people who used to have private health insurance now have no insurance at all.

26 thoughts on “Friday, 1 November 2013”

  1. In my work, I have regular contact with the legal beagles at some pretty big insurance companies. Actually, based on conversations with them, I think getting out of health insurance is exactly what they want. I am far from an expert on the subject, but based on what I have seen, some of those companies always deny payouts and are happy to take cases to court, on the premise that on a good percentage of them, they will not have to pay much at all.

    Auto insurers make up the biggest part of those. I can tell you they would be ecstatic to see the government take over medical and hospitalization in accident cases, leaving them with only property damage to deal with.

  2. Auto insurers make up the biggest part of those. I can tell you they would be ecstatic to see the government take over medical and hospitalization in accident cases, leaving them with only property damage to deal with.

    I am willing to bet they won’t be passing any savings along to their customers. Their payouts would be greatly reduced, but my premiums will remain the same.

  3. At a luncheon the other day, a friend who works in broadcasting in Indy, told me the cable company there is raising the price on his Internet-only service from $50/mo to $75. He uses satellite for TV, and thus does not need any cable TV. But he can add that for another $10 from the cable company.

    So much for those claims a decade ago that the Internet would be essentially free. Its price will soon outpace cable TV—if it already hasn’t.

  4. What Robert said.

    The whole deal was deliberate and intentional from the beginning; this boondoggle was never meant to work. I was one of the rubes who tried to sign us up on October 1 here in Vermont and got basic info in there and then nothing. I haven’t tried since and that was mainly for laughs anyway.

    So now there are many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who have zero health insurance right now, and this regime has not only not fixed the problem of the uninsured that they allegedly had as one of their main reasons for implementing it, but they’ve made it far, far worse. And they’ve lied about it outrageously and continuously; this is huge. Their probable objective is as Bob has said; a single-payer system run by them, and probably combined with SS, Medicare, Medicaid, public and private pension plans, etc., into one gigantic superfund that they can plunder at will.

    November 1, today, is also when the food stamp recipients, many millions of them, see a surprising large reduction in their payments. Coming up: a Grid-down drill. Keep piling it on.

    A corollary objective may be to keep provoking a rising tide of anger, resentment and bitterness in hopes that there will be some kind of mass civil disturbance or other rising that they can then squash with whatever brute and violent force necessary, combined with whatever ‘war on terror’ is going on at the time, so it will be for “national security” and to root out ‘wreckers, saboteurs, etc.’ in the old Soviet and Red Chinese style.

    Time will tell, in these next few months, as we head into wintuh.

  5. For now I have my Tricare Mil Retired health until Medicare kicks in. My annual premium is probably less than most peoples monthly. And it’s for the family. Inconvenient for “sick call” type stuff. I don’t want to drive 25 minutes to Nellis AFB. I just go to one of those Urgent Care places for 50 bucks a couple times a year. Anything serious, or physicals, etc. we go to Nellis for free.

    Tricare for Life is the Medicare supplement. People I’ve talk to said it is good, and cheap. I still wish I could go to the VA Outpatient Clinic two 5 minutes away. Sniff.

  6. November 1, today, is also when the food stamp recipients, many millions of them, see a surprising large reduction in their payments.

    One of my wife’s uncles told me that he was talking with a taco truck dude who was supporting the workers building a new subdivision out in Abilene by him. The guy told him that he had been deported back to Mexico five times now. Was no trouble to get right back across. And he told him that he was buying people’s food using food stamps at fifty cents on the dollar for his taco truck.

    Their probable objective is as Bob has said; a single-payer system run by them, and probably combined with SS, Medicare, Medicaid, public and private pension plans, etc., into one gigantic superfund that they can plunder at will.

    Yup, to punish their enemies and reward their friends. But as an employer, I would love to see single payer here in the USA and get this mess out of my hands.

    I saw a claim yesterday that Medicare pays out 94% of its income in payments to doctors, hospitals, etc. If their costs are only 6% then that is amazing efficiency. Of course, with Medicare for all, the payments will have to double or else the AMA will revolt. The same article was claiming that 70 million people in the USA will be 65+ and on Medicare by 2030.

    BTW, the same uncle confirmed to my wife that both of his grandmothers were full blooded Cherokee. We may be moving to the Res if things get really bad!

  7. I wonder if the NSA just chuckles at all these encryption methods used by us plebes. They have lots of computational horsepower and some of darn smart people working for them. There is always the possibility that some number theorist came up with a way to easily factor large numbers and the NSA is keeping the method all to themselves. They could be shutting down or misdirecting any research that would allow it to be rediscovered by others.

  8. Yep. Essentially all modern encryption depends on the fact (as far as we know…) that it is extremely difficult and time-consuming to factor the products of large prime numbers. That difficulty could disappear overnight if anyone ever discovers an easy algorithm for doing so. And anyone in possession of that algorithm could decode essentially all of the encrypted communications used by governments, companies, and individuals.

    In fact, I started writing a novel 15 or 20 years ago (tentatively titled Keys to the Kingdom) that posited a math professor stumbling across just such an algorithm. In the opening scene, he’d been unexpectedly called away from his office and, just as he was out in the street on the way back to his office, an explosion destroyed the entire wing of the building.

  9. I’m one of the pre-existing condition plebs whose health insurance is going away as of January 1. In mid-October, I tried to use the web site, and was able to enter some information, only to be told at one point that my identity couldn’t be confirmed. I photocopied my passport and mailed it off, per their instructions. The web site now says that my identity has been confirmed, but when I try to complete the application I get to the same place and no further. AND I have to re-enter / re-confirm all the information I entered in the first place. Nothing has changed, of course, but I still have to go through a long list of step, re-clicking Yes or No or whatever. Amazon uses a cookie to store my name, shipping address, etc, but this cluster* can’t do it! Even an option for ‘Has anything changed?’ would be reasonable, and jump to the last completed section if you answer no. I wonder how much of a kickback the various Obama cadre members are getting from the contractors who did this? (And if the R’s tried to set up a similar system, their friends would be getting richer, too. A pox on both their houses!)

  10. Robert, your idea was covered in the Robert Redford movie Sneakers.

    It’s also a major point in the Laundry novel series by Charles Stross. Called Turing’s Last Theorem, last because the SOE killed him after he mentioned it to a colleague:

    The theorem is a hack on discrete number theory that simultaneously disproves the Church-Turing hypothesis (Wave if you understood that) and worse, permits NP-complete problems to be converted in to P-complete ones. This has several consequences, starting with screwing over most cryptography algorithms — translation: all your bank account are belong to us — and ending with the ability to computationally generate a Dho-Nha geometry curve in real time. This latter item is just slightly less dangerous than allowing nerds with laptops to wave a magic wand and turn them into hydrogen bombs at will.

    I highly recommend these books highly, btw. The first is The Atrocity Archives

  11. Cool plane, but…what’s that mission again? Arming this beast seems like typical Air Force idiocy: every plane has to be simultaneously able to do every bloody mission, no matter how badly.

  12. It has been a work-at-home week, although it was not supposed to be that way. The video business serving lawyers is subject to cancellations almost up to the hour of recording, as doing video of a deposition is often a leveraged threat, and when people are faced with actually having to answer questions on record and on video, they cave. We cannot really charge for cancellations, because a deposition really is a tool for settlement and there are a lot of cancellations. However, if it is cancelled after we have left home for the job, we do charge our minimum fee. This week was supposed to be filled for me,—all work for one law firm,—but everything cancelled over the weekend past.

    I mentioned a couple weeks ago that the gas was being shut off in the house kitty corner to Tiny House. Fact is, the tenants were not on vacation as they had indicated to other neighbors; they moved out, leaving most of their stuff. Landlord is a local farmer who bought about half-a-dozen properties for rentals around Tiny Town about 10 years ago for investment income. He has spent about 3 hours every afternoon this week, hauling stuff out of that house, which the tenants left. Mattresses, furniture, trash—all manner of things that he now has to get rid of.

    He is pretty sorry that he ever got into residential rentals, but says that because of the recession and dramatic drop in housing prices in Tiny Town, he would take a horrible loss by selling out.

    The guy directly across the street rented his house out for a couple years. When those tenants moved out, he had to hire a company to clean it up. That cost him $2,000. Then he and his wife moved into the house for the next 2 years to repaint and fix the stuff that was broken. It is currently on the market for what we wanted to net out of Tiny House. Hopefully he gets his price—that would be good news for me and Tiny House.

    About the gas shut-off in the farmer’s rental property—it was not supposed to happen that way. He supposedly had it set up to revert to him, the owner, if there was ever a problem. The gas company is one of the big conglomerates, and I have found dealing with all utilities these days to be an absolute crap shoot with no company taking any responsibility for anything. For me, that includes gas, electric, AT&T, and Sprint (water is still a city utility so you can actually talk face-to-face with someone when a problem arises). So I am not surprised that his gas service got screwed up. Fortunately, it has not been cold enough here to freeze the pipes and flood his house.

  13. Why use an in atmosphere plane when one can use a space plane like the X-37B?

    The X-37 would be in a well-defined orbit, so you know when it is overhead and can take countermeasures. (One of the fallacies of movie portrayals of space combat is the ability to easily change orbits at will. The energy expended in doing most orbit changes is huge, so most spacecraft can only do small changes once on-orbit.) If it is to deliver ordnance on target, the device needs to have on-board propulsion to do a change to an orbit that intersects the atmosphere to deliver the device on target.

    A plane like the SR-72 could be based in Japan or England, like the SR-71 was, and be over target territory in less than an hour. That’s the advantage of a plane over an orbiting platform.

    My guess is that the ability to deliver ordnance by the SR-72 is a sop to the bomber lobby in the USAF and Congress. I doubt it would carry weapons – too expensive, too little payload, might need to slow to deploy them. This is a fast reaction recon bird.

  14. We’ll see how that email project actually pans out; I now have a Fedora 19 machine (16GB and 500GB) (firewall enabled) running hardened Virtual Box which is running Whonix which runs the Tor browser which loads offshore email. I’ll be running pen tests and also testing encryption tools in my spare time.

    The AF needs to be dismantled and its hardware and software and some of its top manpower distributed among the other services. Then the DOD needs to be cut down by at least two-thirds and almost all overseas bases closed and their resources brought back here. Parts of DOD that are cut can be distributed to the Reserve and Guard components, with the Guard in their respective states exclusively assigned to those states; no more active deployments anywhere. The DOD also needs to get up to speed with 4G warfare ASAP and forget about the Good War and ‘Nam. They have several extremely capable geniuses who can guide them in this direction.

    Unfortunately, and predictably, this regime is busily purging the senior officer and NCO ranks of people who won’t get on board; spec ops people are still devoted and loyal, but mainly to their idea of what the patriotic American IDEAL is, and coming to realize that the IDEAL and the regime are totally separate and incompatible entities. We will see how this pans out; they’re very, very sore about their brothers who’ve been killed under mysterious circumstances, repeatedly, during this regime’s tenure and they’re also very sore about their identities and tactics being outed repeatedly.

    It hit the low 70s here on the Bay today, and the wind is still howling; surf and waves crashing against the pier, which is about 150 feet from our front door here.

    Mrs. OFD. and MIL were out on Sanibel Island, FL, where it’s been in the 80s; they’re due home Sunday, and then Mrs. OFD is gone again to Phoenix for a few days and then somewhere else after that into December every week and only being home for a day between the engagements. Her outfit is hiring more people and business is booming nationwide; Texas and Virginia both want a dozen classes done between January and April this next year. That’s two-grand per student times 20-30 students each week.

  15. Unfortunately, and predictably, this regime is busily purging the senior officer and NCO ranks of people who won’t get on board; spec ops people are still devoted and loyal, but mainly to their idea of what the patriotic American IDEAL is, and coming to realize that the IDEAL and the regime are totally separate and incompatible entities. We will see how this pans out; they’re very, very sore about their brothers who’ve been killed under mysterious circumstances, repeatedly, during this regime’s tenure and they’re also very sore about their identities and tactics being outed repeatedly.

    Don’t forget the new loyalty tests about gays XXXX diversity in the armed forces. And willingness to fire upon USA citizens when ordered.
    http://www.examiner.com/article/shock-claim-obama-only-wants-military-leaders-who-will-fire-on-u-s-citizens

  16. Oh, I haven’t forgotten; I am so effin glad I got out in ’75 (active duty) and ’80 (Reserve). What a nightmare it’s become now.

  17. JLP wrote:

    “There is always the possibility that some number theorist came up with a way to easily factor large numbers and the NSA is keeping the method all to themselves.”

    If so it would have leaked by now. Ya just can’t keep a secret that big.

  18. Rentals are a hard business. I remember that my folks tried it – the renters had a dog that peed all over the carpets and ruined them. Why cannot renters be bothered to take care of the property, in at least the most basic of ways? I understand they aren’t responsible for repairs, but what kind of people trash the place they live in?

    Re the DoD: I think a big part of the problem is the top-heavy officer structure. A quick round of googling didn’t turn up the numbers I wanted (number of officers in each rank), but there are plenty of numbers showing the trend. For example, the officer:enlisted ratio is three times its level of a hundred years ago. The ration of generals/admirals is up somewhere around a factor of ten. All these top-level officers have to justify their positions, which they do through bureaucratic empire building. The same, of course, for the civil service – the DoD has far too many civil servants as well, and their pay grades are just as inflated as the officers. Whack it all down by 90%, throw out the stacks of regulations and start over…

  19. If we want to be paranoid about crypto, I think we should speculate that the NSA have better quantum computers than we know. Shor’s algorithm is already known to break RSA and ECC. The NSA are known to talk a lot with people like D-Wave, who’ve made quantum (and quantum-effect) computers. This seems likelier to me than a secret number theory breakthrough which weakens our trapdoor functions.

  20. Well, speaking personally, I use only one-time pads generated from the truly random bits from big bang background radiation.

  21. Hehe. As I understand it, the foremost quantum encryption idea consists of transmitting one-time pads to one another, then using those as normal. The innovative part is that the communication line is monitored for decoherence: the recipient *knows* whether anybody else has spied on the pad during transmission.

    (Disclaimer: I’m only a dilettante in this stuff, so sorry if I’ve misrepresented any of it!)

  22. Big Bang background radiation is proof that God loves us. When He created the universe 4000 years ago, He created the background radiation, just like He created fossils, to give our minds something to puzzle over while we wait to die so we can sing hosannas for eternity.

  23. Gee, that’s pretty cynical; He must be pretty mean and cynical Himself.

    Speaking of fossils, there is an odd geological formation not too fah away from here at the north end of the Champlain Islands, a coral reef, and I understand there are fossils embedded, etc.; Mrs. OFD and I will be making a trip up there at some point and we’ll take pictures; I gotta find somewhere on the net besides FB to put pics like that for the enjoyment? of this board.

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