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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Who's Non-Profit?

At first blush, it might seem that a non-profit company would always be a good thing.  After all, since there's no profit motive, there must be no greed involved, and so the company must have been created for the sole purpose of doing good.  Or, as the economist Arnold Kling points out, at least that would seem to be the intention:
The intention heuristic is what generates the veneration of non-profits. One can readily suppose that the intentions of a non-profit are better than those of a for-profit institution. Accordingly, it seems morally superior to work at a non-profit.
As an example, here in San Diego, we have a non-profit company called Family Health Centers, that I happen to be very familiar with.  They provide health care for the underserved (i.e., the poor) and their headline mission statement is "[c]aring, affordable, quality healthcare for anyone in need." An excellent mission, and they do indeed, at minimum, make significant inroads towards their mission statement.  What's not to like?

In the past, the Veterans Administration has been highly lauded as the pinnacle of socialized medicine in America and an example of what's possible.  As Glenn Reynolds (of Instapundit fame) points out:
Writing in the Washington Post during the debate over Obamacare, Ezra Klein suggested that we should expand VA coverage to non-veterans, because the government just does health care better than the private sector: "Medicare is single-payer, but VA is actually socialized medicine, where the government owns the hospitals and employs the doctors. ... If you ordered America's different health systems (from) worst-functioning to best, it would look like this: individual insurance market, employer-based insurance market, Medicare, Veterans Health Administration."
A couple of years later, in 2011, Klein hailed the VA health system as an example of "when socialism works in America": "The thing about the Veteran's (Affairs') health-care system? It's socialized. Not single-payer. Not heavily centralized. Socialized. As in, it employs the doctors and nurses. Owns the hospitals. . . . If I could choose my health-care reform, I don't think I'd go as far towards government control as the VA does. But the program is one of the most remarkable success stories in American public policy, and it needs to be grappled with."
All government organizations are inherently non-profit, so the Veterans Administration is therefore, according to Mr. Klein, a shining example of what can be achieved by non-profits.

But what does non-profit mean?  Does anybody make money?  Or is it all volunteer?

Back to Family Health Centers (mentioned above).  Their CEO, Fran Butler-Cohen, made more than $550,000 in 2012 (I believe her current compensation package exceeds $600,000).  So it's certainly not all volunteer and $600,000 is pretty good compensation for someone running a fairly small operation ($80 million per year).  Especially when much of that $80 million comes from taxpayers (medicaid, medical and other federal health funding) and grants.  So we have to remember that non-profit simply means that the organization itself doesn't make a profit.  All of the employees at the non-profit company can make ludicrous amounts of money and, if they do, it's very profitable for them as individuals.

The shine on the Veterans Administration has lost a bit of its luster as of late due to a series of scandals. Back to Reynold's article:
Now that the VA has erupted in scandals involving phony wait lists, and people dying because of treatment delays, an audit reveals a "systemic lack of integrity" in the system. According to the auditors, "Information indicates that in some cases, pressures were placed on schedulers to utilize inappropriate practices in order to make waiting times appear more favorable." 
In other words, they cooked the books. And what's more, they did it to ensure bigger "performance bonuses." The performance may have been fake, but the bonuses were real.
People sometimes think that government or "nonprofit" operations will be run more honestly than for-profit businesses because the businesses operate on the basis of "greed." But, in fact, greed is a human characteristic that is present in any organization made up of humans. [...]
The absence of a bottom line doesn't reduce greed and self-dealing — it removes a constraint on greed and self-dealing. And when that happens, ordinary people pay the price. Keep that in mind, when people suggest that free-market systems are somehow morally inferior to socialism.
Yes, the problem with non-profits and government organizations is that they're made up of people and they have all the defects, foibles and imperfections of all other humans, with greed being one of the prime examples of those imperfections.  So what if people died?  They got their bonuses!

From Cosmopolitan, here's another description of the Veterans Administration:
Our disabled veterans are being betrayed by the incompetency, bureaucracy, and callousness of the Veterans’ Administration, the agency set up … years ago to ensure the finest medical care for them.
What's interesting about the excerpt above is that it's from the March, 1945 issue of Cosmopolitan, so apparently these problems have been going on for quite a while.

The economist Don Boudreaux captions the expectation that government organizations should be expected to be any better than any other organizations: "Then a Miracle Occurs:"
This famous Sidney Harris cartoon (below) captures what is wrong – what is deeply unscientific – about far-too-much modern economics.  The miracle assumed by the unscientific ‘scientific’ modern economist is that government will act (1) apolitically, (2) without any of the human imperfections, myopia, and psychological quirks that (are assumed to) give rise to the market imperfections that allegedly justify government intervention, and (3) with more information and wisdom than is discovered and used in markets.
For the purposed of this post, I consider non-profit and government to be very similar if not synonymous and we're specifically focusing on the "human imperfection" of greed. Once you eliminate Kling's "intention heuristic" and Boudreaux's "miracle," there's no reason to expect non-profits or governments to be better organizations than for-profit organizations.  In fact, as Reynolds points out, the bottom-line of a for-profit may actually constrain things like greed:
The absence of a bottom line doesn't reduce greed and self-dealing — it removes a constraint on greed and self-dealing. And when that happens, ordinary people pay the price. Keep that in mind, when people suggest that free-market systems are somehow morally inferior to socialism.
It's not that markets and for-profit companies are perfect, or even good.  It's just that it's naive to expect other organizations to avoid things like greed and be any better.

By the way, Washington D.C. is easily the greediest place in the country and probably the world.  It has nearly 2.5 times the GDP per capita ($146,000) as the next richest state (Delaware at $61,000) and more than 3 times the GDP per capita as the rest of the country.  Not a lot of for-profit companies in D.C., but a heck of a lot of people making a heck of a lot of money.  Sort of like the Hunger Games, but not quite as extreme. Yet.

When counties embrace true socialism, they essentially turn the entire country into one giant non-profit organization. Especially in a diverse populous such as that which exists in the U.S., I think that will be an utter disaster.

144 comments:

Clovis e Adri said...

Just to be clear, you only have a problem with a non-profit CEP making a lot of money if that money comes partially from the Government, or you would feel the same if there was no govt. money at all in the basket?

Howard said...

Clovis,

You ask a seemingly reasonable question, but your need to ask the question indicates that you probably are missing one of the important points of the post.


Elsewhere, Ed Morrissey starts with a different point but heads in a similar direction as this post, finally concluding:

In a single-payer system run by the government, there are no regulators or competitive forces around to keep anyone honest. It’s not even greed as much as it is the ancient issue of power and corruption.

Clovis e Adri said...

Howard,

I did not miss that point, it is only that I'd ask for more care with the equivalence Bret imposed between Non-Profits and Government.

Think about the many religious or humanitary organizations around, and you may find a few with no well paid CEO behind them. I see no place in Bret's post for any genuine altruism to be accounted for.

erp said...

Non-profit status is merely a ploy to keep from paying taxes.

Non-profits only pay taxes on unrelated income, if there is any.

Non-profit status has nothing to do with altruism, so says my roomie, the C.P.A.

The difference between government programs and private enterprise is that a government program has immortality and cannot die while private enterprise goes bankrupt and is seen no more.

Oh wait? Crony capitalism changed all that, so that GM instead of being dead and buried is alive and well, prospering under the care of us generous tax payers and more importantly while the share holders got scr*wed, the union is enjoying the fruits of their labor. s/off

Howard said...

I see no place in Bret's post for any genuine altruism to be accounted for.

He is not precluding altruism, just making the point that "non profit" status should not be blindly assumed as a sign of virtue.

Clovis e Adri said...


But this point is somehow obvious, IMO.

The party in power down here nowadays mastered the tactic of funding NGOs created by proxies for the other Parties at its political supporting basis. Millions, or more probably billions, have been robbed away by that channel.

Maybe that's something new for you guys, but here this is old school. Yet, as far as I understand, the Non-Profits you have are at least doing something other than being a corruption channel.

So back to my initial question, I can see a lot of corruption problems being solved by merely making those NGOs not able to tap at govt. money. Thereafter, if the CEOs make a lot of money from private means, I don't know if that is any of my business.

Annoying Old Guy said...

I agree with Clovis. i would simply make the more general point about government money that's handed out, rather than used to purchase specific and deliverable goods and services.

Bret said...

Clovis asked: "Just to be clear, you only have a problem with a non-profit CEP making a lot of money if that money comes partially from the Government."

No. I would still be annoyed that virtue would be implied by the non-profit status yet the individuals in the non-profit were making out like bandits. I think it's even worse when some or all of the money comes from taxpayers.

Peter said...

Your point is certainly fair about NGOs, especially advocacy NGOs, which can be driven as much by institutional survival and political influence as by their "sing with the angels" mission statements and can happily embrace co-dependency with government, but I don't know how far your "virtue" critique goes with actual government bodies outside of the hard left. Maybe in the minds of some youthful employees, but with the public? I'm not sure you'll see too much gratitude in the waiting rooms of public hospitals. Besides, I once met a car salesman who was utterly convinced the world would be a much better place if everyone bought his brand and my bank spends a lot of money on TV ads assuring me that nothing is more important to it than my and my family's personal security and happiness. (My kingdom for an ad admitting proudly they exist to make money.) Isn't part of this to do with the universal human quest for a sense of worth and self-respect? In the end, the healthcare debate will and should turn on the nature of the product/service and what is the best way to deliver it, not the motivations of the providers.

BTW, Bret, when I first read this post, I read "undeserved" for "underserved" and thought, ok, the man has gone much too far. :-)

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Sorry but I can't be annoyed by such abstract concepts as who is assigned virtue or not by the general populace.

I prefer to use the lens of what works and what does not. If you point to me those CEOs are making like bandits while their Non-Profits accomplish nothing, you have me. OTOH, if those things are working well...


Peter,

I've done the same misreading as you, we must have the same degree of myopia.

Harry Eagar said...

Then there is an (allegedly) for-profit corporation, and we know what value it placed on the lives of its customers -- 12 cents.

By most reports, VA treatment is good, the problem has been (recently) that it was starved of expansion funds when its customer based exploded.

As a 'non-profit,' it was dependent on Republican politicians to adjust assets to demands. Guess what happened?

I am going to guess that the problem of corruption at the VA was fallout from the for-profit sector. Regardless of how the VA is funded, its administrators need to be capable of running a large, complex operation; and people like that are not in oversupply. In the for-profit part of that sector, compensation is outrageous.

It appears that the VA set up a bonus system in order to attract administrators when it could not pay salaries competitive with the for-profits.

Well and good, maybe, so long as the bonus goals were doable with the resources available.

Many 'non-profits' are scams, a fallout from our tax system. I am indifferent to the issue of whether firm is organized as a non-profit or a for-profit. But the record of for-profits is as bad as anyone could well imagine.

erp said...

UTTER RUBBISH.

The VA isn’t a non-profit, a designation only for taxing purposes, it’s an agency of the U.S. Government and it’s been problematic ever since I became aware of it more than 50 years ago. Whenever vast amounts of money go to public sector unions and other public sector workers who aren’t accountable, except to others of their kind, corruption on a very large scale is the result.

Republicans! Even for you a very long streeeeeeeeeeeeetch.

BTW – My husband asked that I make a correction to my comment about when we moved to Connecticut. It was in 1963, not l964. We were in the new house a couple of months when Kennedy was shot.

BTW 2 – If you think I’m conservative, you should have heard Mr. Handy, our colored next door neighbor, who was a business man, wax eloquent on the subject, but then you would have called him an Uncle Tom because he refused to accept the role of victim.

Harry Eagar said...

VA corruption has been problematic for longer than you know, because you don't know your own history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_R._Forbes

So, yeah, Republicans.

I doubt the administrators faking their bonuses belong to a union, but your hatred for the First Amendment is well-established, so no surprise there.

And since the way you tell it, you and your husband can never go to a hospital without having a deathly experience from which you barely escape with your lives, I can only say, you have extraordinarily six-sigma experiences in hospitals.

erp said...

Harry, Non sequiturs running into themselves running into complete incoherencies, but I don't have time now to figure out what you're talking about. I'll come back later when I have time for a laugh fest. Thanks.

erp said...

Your latest comment about our hospital experience is out of bounds.

My husband got a staph infection when he had a hip replacement requiring a three week stay in the hospital in a vain attempt to clear it up. Now six weeks and and three weeks of three different antibiotics later, it's still not cleared up. He will probably need another stay in hospital so that antibiotics can be administered intravenously, but thanks for caring.

I have no idea was six-stigma means and have no desire to look it up, nor do I have any desire to click on any of your links. You can't imagine just how indifferent I am to your opinion of my knowledge of history, geography or any of the other Jeopardy categories and yes the VA has been a mess probably since day one, but not for the reasons you give. My comment was about when I was cognizant of the details through a friend's ordeal.

BTW - I lost my scorecard: Are the Republicans who are responsible for the VA travesty the Democrats who turned into Republicans or the Republicans who turned into Democrats?

Harry: No matter how many ways you try to turn it, socialism can't and doesn't work. The VA, the PO, Medicaid, hundreds of government give-away programs and agencies, etc. exacerbate the problem while enriching the elite fascists and their cronies feeding on the tax paying workers.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

So, until recently the VA was starved for funds, and the result of not starving (and bringing it to record funding levels, absolutely, relatively, and per capita) has been even worse waiting times. Yet you seem to view that as a positive result. Quite odd.

As for the VA having been a problem for many administrations, that didn't seem to be the case according to the Democratic Party and the White House in the run up to the ACA.

erp said...

Perceptions, not reality aog. It's like the homeless, they disappear during Democratic regimes and return with a vengeance when a Republican gets elected.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I am sorry for your husband's ordeal.

Since we are in the topic though, could you please relate if his problems can anyhow be traced to your healthcare system?

I mean, is it possible his staph infection could not have happened under other caring conditions? Is it an indicative of possible mistakes by the medical team? Have you given any thought about it?

erp said...

Thank you for your concern Clovis, his care was atrocious. It would take too long to relate it all here, but suffice to say that had I not been there practically 24/7, there's a very good chance he would have died.

My husband's medical team couldn't go the hospital to see him because only their own hospitalists may take care of all the patients while they are in the hospital. I don't know if it's nationwide or just at the hospitals in our two county area which are all owned by the same Adventist group.

Harry called me delusional and said it wasn't true that the Adventist hospitals employ hospitalists who are very elusive – I've never laid eyes on one when I related the story of my 90+ year old mother who was removed from the hospital and taken to a rehab facility, not only without our permission (I had full POA which they had on record), but without telling us when and where they took her. During the time she was at that facility, she was kept drugged and it took us almost a week to find a nursing home situation for her. She had dementia and became violent, so we couldn't keep her at home.

He developed Cellulitis which kept getting worse and worse and when I pointed it out to probably a dozen or more nurses, therapists, etc. (I never got to meet a hospitalist), I was told it was prickly heat!!! On a shin bone? My son's father-in-law in California is a Dermatologist and I sent him a series of pictures from which he correctly diagnosed the problem and I had to throw a raging fit before they finally agreed it wasn't prickly heat and gave him antibiotics by mouth instead of the normal protocol of intravenous.

I won't even get into the cleanliness, the condition of the room, the linens...

They wouldn't release him so I could take him to his regular doctors for three weeks. His eyes were so badly infected, he looked like a monster from a 50's sci-fi film. We went directly from the hospital to see his ophthalmologist who couldn't believe what he looked like. They were treating him at the hospital with OTC Visine. His cough was being treated with Cepacol an OTC lozenge loaded with sugar. BTW he's diabetic and has greatly impaired kidney function in one kidney and no kidney function at all in the other.

Nothing like this could have happened even a few short years ago.

erp said...

'Nuf said.

SOCIALISM: THE PROMISES AT THE BEGINNING ARE ALWAYS THE SAME. AND SO IS THE REALITY AT THE END: Venezuela Runs Out Of Drinking Water.

...

Meanwhile, “friend of the poor” Hugo Chavez left an estate worth two billion dollars.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Nothing like this could have happened even a few short years ago.
---
But what has changed since then?

Is the Hospital he was treated a For-Profit or a Non-Profit?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Once again we see that Mr. Eagar's claim is not consistent with reality, this time with regard to the VA.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I could not find independent sources to confirm that $2 billion claim on Chavez.

In fact, a google search returns many different numbers.

I think it would be only fair to ask for more grounded info before propagating that claim. I don't think it is impossible at all, but it is probably an inflated figure. Considering most of the places he would store such money are under US eyes, you should be aware of the abscence of more qualified claims.

erp said...

All hospitals are for profit, the question you want to ask is: was this hospital private or public?


Public hospitals make huge profits which are then lavished on the unions that hold them in their thrall (see VA fiasco).


Private hospitals used serve their patients and the fees that private patients paid over and above costs, were used to fund their poorer patients.


It worked very well contrary to Harry's contentions.


What changed is fascistic crony capitalism where the government interferes, requires obedience to its agencies in return for various handouts, tax breaks, etc. etc. The concept of private hospital is probably as dead as the rest of our former freedoms.


Example: My husband's Hematologist thinks he would benefit by a certain procedure, but federal guidelines just revised this year say that his numbers aren't in the range some bureaucrat deems necessary, so Medicare won't pay for it and due the excessive rules and regs, these procedures can run into the multiple tens of thousands and even upward to hundreds of thousands of dollars and as we're not 1%ers like some who comment here, in no way could we afford it even if we beggared ourselves.


In former times, when health costs were on an earthly, not astronomical scale, we like most working people, would purchase catastrophic insurance which would pick up when costs got over what we could easily pay our of current earnings.


Please note, as I've said several time, the designation "non-profit" has NOTHING to do with altruism. It's a tax status that institutions vie for because so-called non-profits pay less taxes in a complicated convoluted system.


A couple of scandals ago, the IRS was caught denying non-profit status to conservative groups for partisan purposes. You may have read something about that. ;-}


Hugo Chavez: Again quibbling over rhetoric. What difference does it make how much he stole from the poor even if you could qualify and quantify it. I'm sure it's a huge amount and it's stashed somewhere safe.


Under U.S. eyes? What does that mean?


BTW - Starting early next week, I will be as well informed about Brazil as you are about the U.S. I have this scheduled to be recorded on my DVR and I plan to watch with great interest.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
All hospitals are for profit, the question you want to ask is: was this hospital private or public?
---
Well, down here we do have three kinds. The (i) Public, the (ii) Private and for-profit and (iii) Private but non-profit.

The Private non-profit is many times owned by religious organizations, catholic or protestant churchs for example, but there are others which are connected to private universities or colleges and also enjoy non-profit status. The non-profit pays far less taxes and is eligible for money from various govt. programs, but it also needs to direct a considerable quota of beds to patients from the public healthcare system. They are probably the most functional part of our public healthcare, since they are usually better managed than the public hospitals.


But back to my question, Erp, on what changed in your system: I don't know if the structural changes you describe could make for such a bad treatment as the one you described for your husband. If everything you said is true, maybe you've got a treatment worse than a few of our public hospitals down here. Either that hospital was already very bad before (or in route to), or there must be other reasons for such a weak hospital procedure and treatment in a private institution of such a rich (and of supposedly well trained staff) country. Would you agree?



---
Under U.S. eyes? What does that mean?
---
Today, it is very hard for someone to hide money in the western world from the US surveillance system of banking institutions. Even in fiscal paradises.

After 9/11, the US made a far reaching web of checks over basically all international systems for tranferring money. I would find it very strange if Chavez would stash 2 billion away and only a little known source of small credibility would be pointing that out. Take notice of Fidel Castro's case, where far more US-connected sources denounced his stashed money multiple times. It is just strange that Chavez would have the same money around and the US would remain silent in his case.

erp said...

Here the non-profit tax status would include religious hospitals and the like. The very reason a lot of very questionable "religions" crop up regularly.

The reason for the terrible condition of the hospital is as I described it multiplied many times. It's a lack of pride in one's work, sloppiness, etc. When doctors were running hospitals, not government bureaucrats, none of the kind of stuff could have happened and prior to this administration, the same thing was largely true of government agencies and departments which were headed by career public servants not union toadies and at the cabinet and diplomatic level were people of considerable experience and competence. Now it's cronyism all down the line.

You don't differentiate between administrations. These fascists love and admire Chavez, who no doubt shared the wealth with cronies in the U.S., so why would they denounce him for doing exactly what they themselves have done and continue to do. The Clinton's are a case in point. They arrived in Washington with practically only the clothes on their backs and are now worth, conservatively, about 100 mil. Obama et al. will do considerably better that.

Yes, everything I said about the hospital and everything else is true. What's also true is that corruption and incompetence is catching and comes from the top down.

Harry Eagar said...

Adventist hospital?

What has that got to do with government?

But your current adventure is not your first. Have you forgotten the French hospital you were lucky to leave alive from?

I haven't.

Possibly you should go to one of the excellent public hospitals in Florida, where the hospitalist I dealt with was first-rate. (An immigrant trained in a socialist country who was waiting to obtain her US medical license, as it happens.)

As for your admitted confusion (which is not surprise, believe me), perhaps I can spell it out:

1. VA is criticized, erp immediately blames union workers.

2.Objects of criticism were administrators, not union workers.

3. Harry notes, not for the first time, that erp despises First Amendment rights and loathes workers.



erp said...

Harry:

Nice try, but the only public hospital in the two county area had a little trouble too.

1. The VA, like all government agencies, dances to the tune of the unions;

2. See above;

3. I hope you learned from our experience in France not to get sick in a socialist country;

4. Your remarks about the first amendment are too obscure for the rational mind to decode.

Thanks for your compassionate concern for my husband's ordeal, but your remarks about immigrants is puzzling. I don't even remember what the mix and match of hospital staff taking care of my husband looked like.

Please evict me from my perch inside your head. It's a very unsavory place and has stopped being amusing.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I understand you don't like bureaucrats, unions and the likes. I am not much of a fan either.

Yet, it looks like you just had a very bad private sector service done to you, and it is noticeable how you do not display the same level of criticism for them here.

It does give me the impression you are bent on blaming govt for everything, no matter what.

On Venezuela: I have no reason to differentiate between administrations, US policy towards Venezuela did not change a bit from Bush to Obama. And, in fact, for most of the time Chavez was in power, you had Bush as your president. Is he one of the Oil Cronies who conspirated with Chavez's Oil Cronies in order to let his hidden fortune off the hook?

erp said...

Clovis, you either dismiss what I say or don't understand the implications. The designation private or public hospital is no longer clear cut because of government interference into private health care using both the carrot, incentives, tax breaks, etc. and the stick, IRS audits, withholding grants, etc.

...you do not display the same level of criticism for them here. Where here? I don't display criticism anywhere, I denounce the takeover of my country by crony capitalists aka fascists.

I really don't think Bush and Obama shared an opinion on Chavez and I don't know what you mean by oil cronies. Is the CW in SA that oil cronies were in cahoots with Chavez rather the socialist cronies?

That's a new one on me.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Setting aside names for each kind of cronism, the point remains that Bush's govt would have knowledge if Chavez was diverting billions for his own pocket. Maybe you can write a letter to your ex-president and ask him if he agrees with those claims you like to propagate around with no evidence.


Back to the hospital topic, the point is that sometimes the private sector also delivers very bad services and can be very inefficient too. If markets operated in ideal conditions (just like if cows could be approximated by spheres, like we do in some simplified calculations in Physics), that would not happen. The bad Hospital would be broken for lack of customes.

Yet, that's not what we experience in practice - the Hospital is still there, working and making money - since many times the real conditions out there are far different from the idealized ones.

I've come to realize that part of our divergences about policies here is rooted in the fact that I see the ideal conditions more like exceptions, while the Libertarians here tend to the opposite view.

So, when you live through a failure of the market, like your husband just witnessed, you barely notice it. You go looking for things that, though real (like govt. interferences), can not be the main immediate cause of the problem you experienced. You search for a second order effect while ignoring the first order ones.


Well, I just wanted to connect this with our previous discussions. One way or another, I truly wish you and your husband better times ahead.

Harry Eagar said...

If erp would take that big chip off her shoulder, she would probably get better service.

erp said...

Clovis, since I lived at a time when service providers took responsibility for their services and their employees and underlings and you didn't, you don't understand that what's going on now isn't the norm, it's an aberration.

I don't know what Bush or the U.S. government has to do with Chavez stealing his country's wealth.

I believe Obama et al. is/was in agreement with Chavez's tactics since he's doing the same thing destroying our economy to make way for totalitarian socialism, but ours being much larger, is taking a longer time.

erp said...

Harry, sorry I won't join you on the plantation.

Annoying Old Guy said...

ER use ramping up.

We were told the ACA would reduce that problem. Does this count as yet another failure for it?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Big Government state governments correlated with increasing income inequality.

It's science. You don't want to be a denier, do you?

Harry Eagar said...

Well, erp, I work in a service business, and I can tell you that our pawnbrokers give good service to everyone but go further for people who treat them with respect and friendliness.

Your disdain (to say the least of it) for workers comes through loud and painfully even in Internet comments; I am sure it is even more evident in person.

erp said...

My disdain is for people like you Harry, not the world at large.

erp said...

BTW - you conflate workers with union thugs. I know the difference, you don't.

BTW 2 - no comment on the link to the local public hospital?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
We were told the ACA would reduce that problem. Does this count as yet another failure for it?
---

If they implement checks on ER to make sure only real emergencies are attended, Erp cries out loud "Socialism!".

If they do not and end up attending more people, you cry out loud "Socialism!".

There is no way to make everybody happy, is there?

Clovis e Adri said...

---
It's science. You don't want to be a denier, do you?
---

It is not science, it is an opinion page behind a paywall.

BTW, if growth is all that matters, I wonder why you did not change your Libertarian views for Chinese ones. They are growing pretty well there, without much of that essential ingredient for growth in your preferred view (liberty).

erp said...

Yes, Clovis, there is a way to make everyone happy, get the government out of our faces.

Clovis e Adri said...

OK, Erp, I will use my magic wand and do just that.

See, no governemnet anymore. You are free. Go run naked if you will.

erp said...

Freedom doesn't mean license.

Running naked doesn't mean one's free, it means one is young and in exuberant spirits.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Most people I've seen running naked where way ahead of their young years.

In Germany some people do have a passion for going naked for parks and rivers, and also for biking.

Actually, if you can do that without getting problems with the police, that does mean some freedom, doesn't it?

erp said...

Don't trivialize freedom. Running naked has nothing to do with it.


A funny story about running naked though. When we went to the topless beach in Spain, my poor husband got the shock of his life because he was expecting a bunch of lovelies like those in Peter's link to the beaches in Brazil, but what he saw were topless parts were well past their perky years (and strangely mostly older German* women). The look on his face was priceless.

*and before Harry accuses me of being racist because I noticed they were German, it was because many of them were staying at our hotel and spoke excellent English, so we chatted and ate with many different German vacationers who were about our age (50ish) at the time.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

And for all of Brazil's beach fame, it is pretty rare to witness people in topless here.

Those Carnival pictures I've linked are kind of an illusion for tourists, in everyday life I don't think the ladies here show more than in the US, for example. Maybe they did in past, but nowadays the fashion of short clothes are as widespread as the world wide web.

BTW, take care when you watch Brazil through a program that in fact only shows Rio. It is like believing every American is like the people at San Francisco.

erp said...

I know and the people living in San Francisco are a lot like the people living all over the rest of the world which why I say everything you think you know about the U.S. is wrong because everything you know is media driven.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

You're moving the goalposts. The claim was the ACA, of itself, would reduce ER usage. Is it not possible to hold the ACA accountable for any claims made?

As for the science, it's more evidence than here is for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming ad I'm told that's settled science.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Actually, I've been to San Francisco, my opinion about it is not exactly media driven.

The people there are a little bit different from New Yorkers, or from people at Miami. It is a different vibe and there are many things that give each of these places their own face.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
The claim was the ACA, of itself, would reduce ER usage. Is it not possible to hold the ACA accountable for any claims made?
---
Sure it is. Although I would like to see the original form of this claim better qualified. Since the main reason for ACA to exist at all was to enlist more people under insurance cover, I do not think the people behind it would be so smart as to imagine that, after millions more entered the system, somehow the ER would see less patients around. The only way such affirmation (of less ER use) would make sense is in a per capita basis, for example. Not to mention also that, if all those using the ER now are insured, it means more revenue for the Hospital, and I wonder why suddenly more business and money is now a bad thing for our market whorshipers friends around.

But the link you've sent made no effort to clarify such matters, right? After all, your interest is not about qualifiers and quantifiers, it is only about showing whatever numbers you can find in the worst possible light.

erp said...

Of course each place has its own vibe, more college kids in college towns, more old people in warm climates, more rich lefties in Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, etc., but in the main people are the same everywhere.

That wasn't my point which is that a documentary that PBS would feature will perforce extend the lefty narrative and therefore may be watched for its entertainment value and not to be taken any more seriously than a super hero movie.

And speaking of PBS documentaries, have you seen the new Cosmos series?

Even I, who barely survived the boredom of high school physics, blanched at the absurdity of the cartoon Giordano Bruno in the first episode and deleted the rest of the series from my DVR.

erp said...

Clovis, aog can answer your questions himself, but I must repeat, endlessly I guess, that Obamacare is not about our health. It's about creating a myth like all lefty fantasy. ACA is an insurance policy!

How it will play out is that people with it won't be able to get a doctor or into an ER (see VA waiting lists for examples) and panic will ensure. Panic will lead to single payer which will lead to even worse care.

A well-planned scenario is being set up, created no doubt, by Hollywood screen writers of apocalyptic plots and it's not only the collapse of our economy and our health care system, but the very fabric of our country.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
[...] but in the main people are the same everywhere.
---
That's an interesting affirmation coming from an individualistic Libertarian lady as yourself.

Paraphrasing the philosopher, people are people and their environment.

Have you thought why Libertarianism has such appeal among Americans, not so much among Europeans, for example? You may credit that to many sources, but one that is usually ignored is the most obvious: environment. Living in such big and sparse Country, quite the contrary of crowded (and many times made of small countries) Europe, it is only natural that you have more people aspiring for that abstract Liberty, free of shackles imposed by govt.


Rio de Janeiro has a vibe that is hipnotic to some, there is an ever present feeling of summer nights full of possibilities. There is an ever present awe due to beautiful landscapes after you unexpectedly turn a corner. But after a time there is also an undefined discomfort after realizing the big inequality and violence around, and the dangerous slopiness that comes with such dreamy environment. Maybe you can catch some of all these feelings in the documentary, who knows.

erp said...

Clovis, I don't know which philosopher you are paraphrasing and don't much care. Perhaps you could see things more clearly if you used your own mind to figure things out and trusted your own conclusions and judgment more. Studies, statistics, philosophers aren't the final and last word. They are more often than not self-serving if not outright deliberately misleading or even telling bold faced lies.

Classic liberals like myself see people as individual human beings and as such we are basically very much the same with superficial differences which lefties see as determinate, when those differences are no more important than the color or cut of one's clothing.

Of course environment plays a factor in our lives, but humans have adapted to everything planet earth has thrown at us and survived, so living in crowded cities results in people going to cafes instead of people living in the suburbs throwing a BBQ in their back yard. So what? In each case people have made the best of their worlds even the primitive tribes in Brazil have a culture which suits them and is no more better or worse than that of self-satisfied 1%ers who lecture us.

Our heritance in the U.S. is Anglo/European and even Americans whose ancestry was African or Asian have adapted to that as the basic culture with fascinating excursions into the more exotic in dress, cuisine, music and everything else that makes life interesting.

The fascists now in control here in the U.S. are doing their damnedest to divide us into warring groups all clamoring for government largesse.

I hate and despise it.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Here's with a PhD in economics claiming the ACA, of itself, would reduce ER use. Your claim is that she isn't smart enough to realize that's not even plausible?

What about President Obama, who said “I think that it’s very important that we provide coverage for all people because if everybody’s got coverage, then they’re not going to the emergency room for treatment.” He is not so smart too? Quoting further from that same article we have

"Supporters of President Obama’s health care law had predicted that expanding insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits because people would go to primary care doctors instead". They're not so smart as well?

Annoying Old Guy said...

TIME magazine weighs in with "an argument made by proponents of the Affordable Care Act — including President Barack Obama — that the number of costly emergency room visits would decrease if more people had insurance that covered the cost of seeing a primary care doctor".

That is, more insurance means less ER use.

Annoying Old Guy said...

What about Senate Majority Harry Reid who said "Obamacare was the most significant step toward ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare for every American since Medicare. But Republicans would erase those gains, and force millions of American families to once again rely on expensive emergency room care – or go without care at all".

Here is a nice list of many times Obama made this explicit claim. If you want to make the counter claim that he's an ignoramus who has no clue what he is saying, I'll accept it.

As for me, I am not seeing a lot of qualifiers on those statements. Maybe the people behind the ACA were, in fact, not so smart.

erp said...

What they didn't say and what no media person is asking, is where those insured by ACA would find a primary, secondary or tertiary doctor who would treat them.

What a bummer.

;-{

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Taking all of that at face value, yes, I can only counter-argue those people failed very badly in Math 101.

I don't know if some of those claims are made in a larger context, though. Certainly a few of them are dumb one-sentences thrown away for, probably, political purposes.

Clovis e Adri said...

BTW, the first link, of the PhD lady, is a better qualified one. She in fact found reduction in ER use in Massachusetts. I wonder how many more were included in their pools of insured compared to the period before Romneycare.

There will probably be plenty of studies, in the near future, on why it happens in some regions while not happening in others.

In Florida, if what Erp described is the general practice now (pre-screening of patients and refusal of the ones who do not fit the emergency profile), they will probably do fine in that regard.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Of course environment plays a factor in our lives, but humans have adapted to everything planet earth has thrown at us and survived [...]
---

Yeah, people survived, but I am not talking about that. The way they survived is what is interesting here. Do yourself a little exercise, Erp, if you think environment is such a small factor.

Take a World Map of Temperatures, and compare with one of GDP, and tell me if you notice anything in common...

About Cosmos: unfortunately I could not yet see this new version. I am hoping to take a look soon though.

erp said...

Clovis, in your comment about ER's do you mean the ER's will be fine or the people who are refused admission will be fine because IMO neither will be fine.

***

... and can't you comprehend my meaning? I don't think, nor did I say, environment is such a small factor. It colors how we live. Eskimos don't have tropical flowers on the lanai, etc., but that doesn't mean their lives are not well lived.

GDP is a meaningless statistic.

Why do you think that if people aren't living the middle class life style you aspire to, their lives are bereft of meaning?

Actually read what I said in my last comment and comment on that if want to, but please don't berate me for saying something I didn't say nor imply.

***

I think you can watch Cosmos online here

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "Take a World Map of Temperatures, and compare with one of GDP, and tell me if you notice anything in common..."

Indeed. Where it's very cold, the GDP is $0. Is that what you meant? :-)

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Why do you think that if people aren't living the middle class life style you aspire to, their lives are bereft of meaning?
---
After scolding me for implying things you did not say, you just do the same. I never stated the above, nor believe it.

And thanks for the Cosmos link, but it is only workable for American viewers. I don't have cable (actually, I don't have a TV), so I will need to wait for other options.



Bret,

Good point, I see you have a sharp eye! :-)

I guess you saw more than that, but I will state here for Erp: richer countries tend to be colder, poorer ones tend to be hotter, and that's a pretty good correlation. Of course the rule has its limits, for too cold or too hot means no big civilization around too.

We fight against the Second Law of Thermodynamics every day, trying to use energy to order things in our favor, but that's a relentless law: it is just harder to make things work over the long run in hotter climates. The environment, hence the humans living on it, hence the GDP generated by them, in one way or another, is influenced by that.

erp said...

Clovis, but that is exactly what you say by your temperature charts and GDP. It's pretty obvious to everyone that people in cold parts of the world and people in hot parts live a different kind of life. You think the former are rich because their GDP's higher than the latter and lament that it is just harder to make things work over the long run in hotter climates

What things?

You want order?

You might find it in a monastery or high security prison.

BTW - I just watched the first part of the three part series on Brazil, Out of Africa. It showed different festivals, some ruins, a national park of fantastic sand dunes with waterways running through them (sorry I didn't write down the name and can't remember it), fishing boats and happy people singing and dancing wearing colorful costumes.

Constant stressing of black slavery and how the cities of San Luis and Salvador were once very rich when they had cheap slave labor, but are now impoverished and in decline. Slaves were freed in 1888 well over a hundred years ago.

Contrast all those smiling faces at the beach, eating and cooking in a very disorganized way with pictures of let's say, Finland where everything is in order and the people are dour. Using your scale, we would expect that Finland would have a higher GDP, but no it's #55 and Brazil is #7.

Gadzooks, how can this be?

That's why statistics and studies don't tell the tale.

Harry Eagar said...

'She in fact found reduction in ER use in Massachusetts.'

And there has been a very big drop in deaths from treatable disease in Massachusetts, which implies that prior to Romneycare large numbers were dying for lack of treatment.

erp's crocodile tears about lack of physicians cannot apply to Mass., the most overdoctored place on earth.

Harry Eagar said...

There are more Brazilians than there are Finns, so that accounts for the higher GDP in Brazil.

Under premodern conditions, warm places were richer. India was richer than Europe.

erp said...

Harry, so you are confirming my contention that the GDP, as are most compiled statistics with pre-set parameters, is meaningless and in this case if Clovis wants to prove that hot parts of the world are doomed to not experience the "prosperity," read welfare, of the cold areas an added element of population must be added. I think the number of blue-eyed people should added to the mix as well.
s/off

Statistics from Massachusetts reveal what lefties want them to reveal. Thank G*d I'm sitting down or I'd faint!

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Gadzooks, how can this be?
That's why statistics and studies don't tell the tale.
---
Erp, statistics and studies can tell some part of the tale, but you need to learn a bit before you can make good use of them. I suggest you start googling the concept of "GDP per capita", it may help you to realize where you went wrong.


I don't much understand how you conclude all the other absurdities from my arguments. I am making them without any moral or politics implied, I basically stated facts. I've read them again and can only concluded that the problem in this case is the reader, not my English skills.

erp said...

I didn't go wrong. I used the two criteria you suggested, weather and GDP, even though I knew neither had anything to with a life worth living which in the end is all we can hope for...

and, of course, you were making both moral and political judgments, it's just that you're in an environment where the denizens think they know what's best for us all and you don't even know that's what you're doing.

Harry Eagar said...

erp, I suggest you move from the most conservative and backward area of Florida to the more modern ones, where the hospitals are excellent.

It might pay off for you personally.

erp said...

Thank you Harry, I didn’t know you cared.

Of the local hospitals, two were built by the Adventists less than ten years ago, replacing the private hospitals they took over which served the community with distinction and the third was completely refurbished after being taken over by them only a few years ago.

It’s crony capitalism that’s the problem, not geography.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "...richer countries tend to be colder, poorer ones tend to be hotter..."

Cost effective heating was invented before cost effective air conditioning (by many millennia).



Clovis wrote: "...it is just harder to make things work over the long run in hotter climates..."

OK. Give me a hint, like what?

It seems to me that the bounds are, for the most part, when water switches phases. A few degrees warmer for most machines doesn't make much difference.

Harry Eagar said...

Heating was very expensive before the exploitation of coal. In hot countries, the people in olden days, as now, just endured.

I grew up in the Deep South before air conditioning. We didn't know any better.

Two things that militated against wealth accumulation in hot countries (aside from whatever cultural factors were at work)were a lack of diversity in animals for motive power; and disease.

Agriculture was easier in temperate and even quite cold climates because the winter knocked down pest populations.

Even today, this is enough of an issue to make a difference to corn farmers between southern and northern Iowa.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Since you are now interested on Brazil, I recommend for you this opinion piece today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/13/opinion/cohen-world-cup-survival-guide.html?hp&rref=opinion&_r=0

It does describe us to a good extent, though it may be more truthful to Rio and Bahia than anywhere else.

erp said...

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

Good timing because we watched the rest of the PBS series Brazil last night.

I'll send you my reaction to it in an email.

erp said...

Whoops I just noticed where the link goes. No can do.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
OK. Give me a hint, like what?
It seems to me that the bounds are, for the most part, when water switches phases. A few degrees warmer for most machines doesn't make much difference.
---

Well, like everything. For that machine called Man, to work out there under the sun at 14 degrees Celsius (57 F) is very different from doing the same at 40 C (104 F).

And, of course, it is not about temperature only. Heavy work under 30 degrees (86 F) in dry California is no big deal, but try yourself the same in 96% of humidity Northwest Brazilian cities (in the middle of the Amazon Forest). I did and I can tell you, that's hellish.


But my point is really more general. Temperature influences us and everything else in ways we barely notice, even when a few degrees of difference are involved. It is an ever present variable influencing since the most basic chemical reactions, up to the behavior of mating animals.

Take this for example. After a few gene changes in those flies, there is a temperature after which they turn into homosexual flies. And it is completely reversible, you drop the temperature and they go back to heterosexual behavior.

And no, I am not suggesting such a thing may happen with humans, it is only one example among gazillions on how biological machines can be very sensitives to small changes in temperatures.

Harry Eagar said...

Historians of medieval Europe attribute large social/political changes to variations in the harvest, which in turn are linked to smallish changes in weather.

This is plausible for societies living on the edge, which was certainly the case for medieval Europe, where population growth was small in most places at most times.

Air conditioning brought the retirees to Florida, Pharr, Texas, and Phoenix.

There are other, more mysterious natural changes that have driven political events. The most dramatic I can think of was the shift in the spawning area of the North Atlantic herring.

Bret said...

erp wrote: "Whoops I just noticed where the link goes. No can do."

You have no access to the NY Times!?!?!

It's a fun article.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "For that machine called Man, to work out there under the sun at 14 degrees Celsius (57 F) is very different from doing the same at 40 C (104 F)."

Are you under the impression that the alleged global warming is going to increase temperatures by 26C (the delta between 14 and 40)? Note that my statement talked about "a few" degrees warmer.

erp said...

Bret, I have access, in fact, I've kept my subscription to the crosswords (I've been doing them since age 14) in tact, but I choose, not to read anything in the paper itself.

I'm sure I'm only hurting myself and the Times couldn't care less about people like me, but nevertheless, there it is, I won't access it.

Glad you enjoyed the article. Did you get a chance to watch the Palin series on PBS?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Are you under the impression that the alleged global warming is going to increase temperatures by 26C (the delta between 14 and 40)? Note that my statement talked about "a few" degrees warmer.
---

What? I didn't see that coming. I guess the term "temperature changes" triggers some mechanism in people's heads nowadays, they can only think about Global Warming.

No Bret, I was, as before, talking about temperature influencing people, and ultimately even GDPs. A good part of Brazil is between 28 and 40C during the whole year, while a lot of America is near 14C for half of the year, that's why I've chosen that temperature range.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I guess the term "temperature changes" triggers some mechanism in people's heads nowadays, they can only think about Global Warming."

Ooops. Apparently, my confusion. I went from aog's "more evidence than [t]here is for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming..." to your discussion of heat and GDP and I assumed they were somehow related. Sorry.

Howard said...

Clovis,
(sorry - a few days behind on this)

They are growing pretty well there, without much of that essential ingredient for growth in your preferred view (liberty).

There is a substantial difference between catch-up growth (convergence) and "moving the frontier." The benefits of liberty probably matter even more when trying to "move the frontier" as an economy becomes more complex.

China has changed at the margin:
On his tour, Deng made various speeches and generated large local support for his reformist platform. He stressed the importance of economic reform in China, and criticized those who were against further reform and opening up. Although there was a debate on whether or not Deng actually said it,[45] his perceived catchphrase, "To get rich is glorious" (致富光荣), unleashed a wave of personal entrepreneurship that continues to drive China's economy today. He stated that the "leftist" elements of Chinese society were much more dangerous than "rightist" ones.

Harry Eagar said...

The frontier is moving pretty well in Europe and never, ever moved faster than in central Europe between about 1890 and 1939, when liberty was in very short supply.

I happen to be for liberty, but I am not ignorant enough to think that you have to have it for economic advances.

An interesting and accessible book about a thriving economy in an increasingly despotic government is 'April Blood' about Florence in the 14th c.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Since the main reason for ACA to exist at all was to enlist more people under insurance cover, I do not think the people behind it would be so smart as to imagine that, after millions more entered the system, somehow the ER would see less patients around. The only way such affirmation (of less ER use) would make sense is in a per capita basis, for example. Not to mention also that, if all those using the ER now are insured, it means more revenue for the Hospital, and I wonder why suddenly more business and money is now a bad thing for our market worshipers friends around.

By definition, the ACA is redistributive. While the motivation behind the ACA is to uncouple healthcare access from income, the inevitable (but unmentioned by the Fraudster in Chief or the lackwits known as journalists) consequence is to redistribute wealth.

That might well be morally justified, but it only gets that way through making the argument in the first place.

However, increased ER use is absolutely counterintuitive. ERs were, and are, required to take all comers regardless of ability to pay. Pre-ACA, people of inadequate means, or self-self discipline, showed up at ERs for care because they could, or would, not afford paying non-ER providers.

Post-ACA, ERs still have to take anyone who walks through the front door.

However, because the ACA has supposedly signed up billyuns and billyuns* of people who previously could, or would, not pay for non-ER care, the number of people showing up at the ER should go down by a corresponding amount. After all, in an ideal world where everyone had health insurance, the only reason to show up at an ER is for sudden and serious illness or injury.

There is only one explanation for why that hasn't happened: there has been a net loss of people with health insurance.

Which is why your last sentence doesn't follow.

[erp:] And speaking of PBS documentaries, have you seen the new Cosmos series?

I loved the original Cosmos when it first came out. Thanks to Netflix, and because the new one was soon to come out, I decided to revisit the original series.

*What a load of unwatchable twaddle, rendered even worse by Sagan's sanctimonious delivery.

Nevertheless, I having read good things about Tyson's version, I fired up the DVR.

And couldn't even make it through episode one. Although, to be fair, it is more likely due to the fact that I am reasonably well read on the subject and wouldn't likely learn anything new than due to any particular defect in the show itself.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Have you thought why Libertarianism has such appeal among Americans, not so much among Europeans, for example?

Because the individualistically inclined voluntarily left Europe. That makes the US a eugenics experiment.

Take a World Map of Temperatures, and compare with one of GDP, and tell me if you notice anything in common...

Excellent, and inescapable, observation. Both Wealth and Poverty Among Nations and Guns, Germs, and Steel, while they don't agree on much of anything else, do agree on the impact of environment.

Hey Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] And there has been a very big drop in deaths from treatable disease in Massachusetts, which implies that prior to Romneycare large numbers were dying for lack of treatment.

From a synopsis of the study to which you must ultimately be referring, I noticed this:

The most important limitation of this study is that the authors used a “quasi-experimental” pre-post design, which was likely subject to confounding factors and cannot demonstrate causality. Nonetheless, the current study provides evidence that the Massachusetts reform laws may have resulted in lower mortality, carrying great implications for the Affordable Care Act.

That is an awful lot of qualifiers. Interestingly, an editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine included almost exactly that paragraph.

Absent qualifiers.

And from reporting about the study: Researchers estimate that the Massachusetts law prevented 320 deaths a year. That works out to one life saved for every 830 people who gained insurance.

Any sociological study that purports to be measuring 1 part in nearly 1,000 is nonsense.

And anyone who takes that sort of thing without an ocean's worth of salt is touchingly naive.

But what about cost?

The study does not examine whether health reforms that save one life per 830 people are cost effective.

Based on the study, Conover offered his own rough calculation, suggesting that saving one life costs upwards of $272,000 per "quality-adjusted year of life," a measure that refers to the quality and quantity gained as a result of the health reforms.


You'd think that would be worth talking about, since that $272,000 isn't available for other things that might well yield many more QALYs per dollar.

Getting back to your assertion: And there has been a very big drop in deaths from treatable disease in Massachusetts, which implies that prior to Romneycare large numbers were dying for lack of treatment.

How can I say this politely?

I can't. Either you are completely innumerate, relentlessly careless, or a compulsive propagandist.

Which is it? Enquiring minds want to know.

However, I'm starting to see why you don't link to anything.

erp said...

Skipper, re: New Cosmos.

I don't remember anything about the Sagan series, except the jokes about his delivery. Having lived through having a son besotted with physics and astrology practically from birth on, I am a bit more informed than the average non-scientist, but even I couldn't finish the first episode and call me a racist, but it would be difficult to convince me that the narrator wasn't chosen by affirmative action and heaven knows who or what choose the writers and the cartoonists!

erp said...

Skipper, re: Massachusetts Health Reform

Since it's axiomatic that studies and statistics compiled by those who with a political agenda are bound to be contrived one way or other to prove their agenda, I've found it easiest to ignore them.

Anything from academe or the media is suspect propaganda until it proves itself true.

Academic/government research, studies, statistics are run by the grant writers, not the scientists and there is a cozy relationship among all three parts of the equation: the academy, the government and the media.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
[...] but even I couldn't finish the first episode and call me a racist, but it would be difficult to convince me that the narrator wasn't chosen by affirmative action [...]
---
Ok, Erp, that's a wish I can grant you: you are racist.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
There is only one explanation for why that hasn't happened: there has been a net loss of people with health insurance. Which is why your last sentence doesn't follow.
---
Sorry but that also does not follow.

Your argument, to the extent I get it, is that uninsured people were all using the ER, so increasing the number of insured should decrease the number of people going to the ER; so you conclude the contrary is also true: decreasing the number of insured should increase the ER attendance (A -> B). And now, from that, you reversed the relation to conclude that increase of ER attendance can only be the result of a decrease in people insured (B -> A). Do I need to argue further about the logical mistake practiced here?

I will also point out that your initial hypothesis (that every uninsured was using the ER when in need of a doctor, be it an emergency or not) is, probably, false too.

Clovis e Adri said...

Howard,

---
There is a substantial difference between catch-up growth (convergence) and "moving the frontier." The benefits of liberty probably matter even more when trying to "move the frontier" as an economy becomes more complex.
---

I think Harry rightly pointed out that frontiers were moved in places and times very lacking in liberty too.

Since you also mentioned complexity, I guess we can argue the economies at those times were less complex than the present ones, and it is true, but then the argument turns to be one based on other grounds than any previous and extensive experimental data.

erp said...

Correct. Pointing out that many blacks, including Obama, got their jobs through affirmative action is racist. What else explains it?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I don't know about the "many blacks" out there (and you say you are not a collectivist, right?), but that black in particular has his own CV, and it does nos strike me as someone who was called to narrate that series to fill in quotas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_deGrasse_Tyson

You also complain about the writers. Well, one of them is someone who was in the original series too, for she is the late Sagan's wife, Ann Druyan. I guess to be an original creator of the series must be some affirmative action thing too, in your world - how dare she be entitled to her own creation?

I did not see yet this new one, and it doesn't matter if it is that bad, you commet was truly a racist one.

erp said...

Clovis, when there is a single conservative on PBS please alert me. The networks have a few on their entertainment shows, but NONE on their "news" shows.

I said I don't remember the original Cosmos, but back then leftwing propaganda wasn't as widespread and obvious. I know nothing about Mrs. Sagan and do not know or care about her credentials. She may be there as a nod to the original series or not, it doesn't matter, but whoever wrote the first episode didn't cover him/herself with glory.

As for Tyson's vita, it may be impressive, but then so is Obama's and we know his is bogus. He became editor of the Harvard Review without a single piece of legal writing to his credit before, during or since and entered Harvard Law School at the behest of Percy Sutton, an influential black politician and wheeler/dealer fronting for Saudi's who bankrolled him.

This is the very reason affirmative action is so bad. Tyson may be brilliant, but his achievements will always be suspect and his choice for director of the NY Planetarium, a place I spent many a fascinating hours as a kid and then later with my own kids, and host for this series, is political.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] call me a racist, but it would be difficult to convince me that the narrator wasn't chosen by affirmative action and heaven knows who or what choose the writers and the cartoonists!

Unlike Obama's, Tyson's CV is extensive, well known, and very impressive.

It might be that PBS chose Tyson from among other equally impressive presenter candidates because of his ethnicity, but so what -- that is a completely legitimate choice.

Further, I don't see any evidence whatsoever that Tyson benefited in any way from AA: what he did, he did on his own merit. In this regard, his race is scarcely incidental.

erp said...

Skipper,

Exactly my point, but you know Tyson wasn't a token because it is a field in which you are expert. This isn't the case in every situation.

Perhaps his race is legitimate choice for hosting Cosmos, but as I said below, it is for political rather than scientific reasons and this is what I find offensive.

Hey Skipper said...

In this regard, his race is scarcely incidental.

That needs fixing.

In this regard, his race is, at most, barely incidental.

Hey Skipper said...

Your argument, to the extent I get it ...

With regard to health insurance, the population is divided into two groups: those who have it, and those who don't.

With regard to ER visits, the population is divided into two groups: those who felt the need for immediate care was sufficient that they decided to use the ER regardless of insurance, and those who use the ER to obtain routine, non-urgent medical care.

For the former group, insurance is irrelevant. The latter, by definition, do not have access to a primary care physician

Therefore, if the size of population remains the same, and the reasons for visiting an ER remain the same (actual/perceived emergency; routine health issues, but no access to primary care physician), and ER visits increase, then that increase can only come from two sources: more emergencies, or less access.

Presuming the rate of emergency care visits is unaffected by ACA — a safe bet — then the increase must come from the only other population visiting ERs: those without primary care access. The only explanation is a net reduction in the number of people with access to primary care. There are only two possible reasons for a reduction in access — either the ACA caused a net reduction in the insured, or its physician networks are so restricted as to make access impractical in fact, even though it is available in theory.

I'm pretty sure that is a more extensive — and perhaps more clear — version of what I said above. I don't see where the error lies.

erp said...

Skipper, I just thought of something.

We were sold affirmative action as merely giving the nod to a minority candidate if all other things were equal. Of course, it didn't work out that way, but this may be one of the very few examples of that policy being applied correctly. Considering that the percentage of black astrophysicists is probably quite small, Tyson got the nod because he was that one among equals.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I think Harry rightly pointed out that frontiers were moved in places and times very lacking in liberty too.

This is what Harry said:

The frontier is moving pretty well in Europe and never, ever moved faster than in central Europe between about 1890 and 1939, when liberty was in very short supply.

That is yet another completely unsubstantiated pronunciamento.

It is a non-sequitur, unless liberty is in very short supply in contemporary Europe.

And based upon repeated experience, I'll bet there is a great deal less to that assertion than he claims.

Absent evidence, of course.

Harry Eagar said...

erp, you're a racist.


If you want to walk that back, I will show you how to begin:

'You know, back before the Great Society, when dull white boys got cushy jobs because of their skin and whatever posh segregated school they were eased through, I always suspected the real worth of everyone in a prominent position, because how was I to know whether Jesse Helms got his TV announcer job because of his brilliant delivery or because of the color of his skin?'

You could substitute whomever you wish for Helms. But if you were not making that argument then, then you are a racist for making it now.

erp said...

Harry, what are you talking about?

I'm not walking back anything and not all white boys were or are dull. Some are and some are brilliant.

The difference is in de facto affirmative action, boys get put into places for which they are either not prepared or otherwise ill-equipped to handle, so the other boys of that same protected group will always be looked at suspiciously no matter their accomplishments.

That is what you wrought Harry.

Jesse Helms? Seriously?

Did he get a job you were hankering for or something? This one isn't out of left field, it's out of the galaxy (a little astronomy humor).

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
[On ER visits and ACA] I'm pretty sure that is a more extensive — and perhaps more clear — version of what I said above. I don't see where the error lies.
---
Indeed, it is clearer.

I would counter that you did not consider the possibility of continued ER visits due to simple inertia. I understand most people, even more the lower income ones, were and are used to think of the ER as a sort of local clinics easier to look for, so they just keep going even though they have other options. The fact they are insured now only would give them more confidence to do so.

erp said...

Harry, my husband just reminded me of an incident in the late 60's, early 70's.

When we lived in a Connecticut suburb, a neighbor boy, since you like to label people, mother, Portuguese descent from Fall River Massachusetts fishermen and father, Irish descent, a very average student applied to UCONN (University of Connecticut) and in comes a letter from H*A*R*V*A*R*D asking that he consider applying there. Naturally they are stunned and can't figure out what it's about. Upon inquiry, it was learned the hapless lad had inadvertently checked the box for racial background that indicated he was black.

Believe it or not Harvard said they didn't want him if he wasn't black.

How do you think that went over in our newly integrated neighborhood?

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
[On innovation and liberty] That is yet another completely unsubstantiated pronunciamento.
It is a non-sequitur, unless liberty is in very short supply in contemporary Europe.
---

I won't defend Harry's phrase literally (i.e. I am not sure the frontier never moved faster than in the period he stated), but he is right in that the frontier did move quite fast under regimes lacking in liberty in the said period.

For example, there is a treasure of inventions created during Nazi period that were taken by the Allies after the fall of Germany. Technologies such as infrared vision devices, long range missiles (think von Braun) and even fake grass production were freely taken from them - all created during brutally repressive times.

You should know better than us, Skipper, how wars had deep impacts on innovations. And for wars to be waged by loving-freedom-States was far from being the rule.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
How do you think that went over in our newly integrated neighborhood?
---
I will let your statements on Tyson to rest - I guess I am adopting Bret's position, racism is foremost a self-inflicted burden.

Yet, a comment is in order on Affirmative Action: its most deleterious effect is not the resentment it generates among the ones not benefitting from it. For sure few in your neighborhood gossip net would care much for the closed doors any black kid may have due to his color, though you certainly resented the one open door you were able to see.

The most deleterious aspect of AA is that it does lower standards and, when applied too broadly, makes things worse for everyone. So instead of "elevating" the poor black kid, it will more probably bring down everyone, including the poor black kid. It is a lose-lose situation for all.

Harry Eagar said...

'the boys of that same protected group will always be looked at suspiciously no matter their accomplishments.'

So true, and that is why I always doubted that the whit3e boys getting the promotions in the '50s and '60s were really doing it on merit.

Of course, because of your racism, you have yet to acknowledge the truth that able blacks and browns were excluded from vast realms of American life to protect dull white boys. That could help explain why American business was so badly managed.

Clovis, when I wrote about frontiers, I was particularly thinking about physics. While the English, French and to a lesser extent the Americans were making great advances in observations, most of the miraculous advances in theory came from central Europe.

As you know better than I do.

There is even a speculation that when politics and government are not open to talent, talent migrates toward literature, on one hand, and science, on the other.

Stalinism was very bad for genetics but it didn't hurt mathematics.

erp said...

Clovis, just what is about my position on Tyson that upsets you? He's at the right age to have been part of affirmative action, so I made the natural assumption that there was every possibility that he wasn't really as good as others in his very specialized field.

If he were older, I wouldn't have questioned his accomplishments. How is this racist?

Please tell me why your statement that affirmative action makes things worse for everybody without spelling out just how it makes things worse isn't racist while my statement that it makes the accomplishments of all blacks suspicious is?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I would counter that you did not consider the possibility of continued ER visits due to simple inertia.

You are right, I did not explicitly consider that.

Had ER visits remained flat, then inertia (which could include a time lag between becoming covered by insurance and getting a primary care provider, in addition to habit) would be a very plausible explanation.

However, it is the delta that requires explanation. Having more ACA provided confidence to seek care, combined with habit, is also plausible. However, that requires a) people choosing by far the least convenient means of getting medical care, and b) a pent up demand for doing after the ACA what people could have done in any event.

[erp:] Considering that the percentage of black astrophysicists is probably quite small, Tyson got the nod because he was that one among equals.

I think you are putting far too much weight on affirmative action. Tyson was not only eminently qualified in a technical sense, he also already had a well established track record as a presenter.

Moreover, even if there are others who equally combine Tyson's talents, it is not a nefarious decision to choose Tyson for his race; indeed, it is eminently defendable.* The primary goal of Cosmos version 2.0 is to popularize the latest discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. And it is a completely worthy decision to pick a presenter who is both completely qualified and looks like a part of the prospective audience that has heretofore not participated in the sciences to anywhere near the degree of other ethnic groups.

In other words, even if AA had never seen the light of day, Dr. Tyson would still be the perfect choice.



* Fox news picks qualified women as presenters who are also drop dead gorgeous. If that isn't AA for hot blondes, then Cosmos isn't an example of AA for Dr. Tyson.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] For example, there is a treasure of inventions created during Nazi period that were taken by the Allies after the fall of Germany.

Good point.

Clearly, the Nazi regime caused some technological frontiers to be pushed hard. (You left off the jet airplane, which both the British and Germans were pursuing. And radar, primarily British. But they just further strengthen your point.)

Clearly it isn't true that tyrannical regimes cannot push technological frontiers, because as your examples show, they can.

However, there is a significant difference between how many, and what kind of, frontiers non-free societies push.

Compare Western v. Eastern Europe after WWII. Very similar cultures and geography. Extremely different outcomes.

The most deleterious aspect of AA is that it does lower standards and, when applied too broadly, makes things worse for everyone. So instead of "elevating" the poor black kid, it will more probably bring down everyone, including the poor black kid. It is a lose-lose situation for all.

The problem with AA is more than just adverse selection. It requires college admissions to compensate for the manifest inadequacies of completely dysfunctional urban education systems.

In any other realm, that would be seen for the idiocy-on-stilts that it is.

[Harry:] You could substitute whomever you wish for Helms. But if you were not making that argument then, then you are a racist for making it now.

Once again you demonstrate your galloping incomprehension of the term.

Erp is arguing that Tyson got the nod because of race. Right or wrong, that is not racism.

Stalinism was very bad for genetics but it didn't hurt mathematics.

Among your preposterous statements, that is nearly a winner, if for no other reason than it requires you to know how mathematics in Russia would have fared without communism.

Since you can't know that, your assertion collapses of its own ignorance even before reaching the period.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, getting back some more to your assertion:

And there has been a very big drop in deaths from treatable disease in Massachusetts, which implies that prior to Romneycare large numbers were dying for lack of treatment.

How can I say this politely?

I can't. Either you are completely innumerate, relentlessly careless, or a compulsive propagandist.

Which is it? Enquiring minds still want to know.

erp said...

In other words, even if AA had never seen the light of day, Dr. Tyson would still be the perfect choice.

If AA hadn't seen the light of day, I wouldn't have a problem with his being chosen. Skipper your argument is similar to those who say black kids can't learn from teachers who aren't black. I don't like buying into that argument and I hate the divisions being foisted on us.

Beautiful women as presenters is an altogether different question. That's to focus the minds of the males in the audience and transcends all else.

Bret said...

Harry wrote: "able blacks and browns were excluded from vast realms of American life to protect dull white boys."

So how is it that able asians weren't excluded? Able jews for that matter?

Harry Eagar said...

Able Asians and Jews were excluded. Sheesh. You live in California, don't you?

Now, to ER visits. Why would they go up, at least initially, if insurance coverage is extended? Think, think, think. Gee, this is so hard.

How about this?

In communities where few people had the means to pay, either directly or via insurance, there are not many primary care physicians. So when people get insurance and are now able to seek care, they cannot sign up for non-existent doctors. So they go where there are doctors.

Over time, there should be a shift in calls toward primary care physicians, but it will take a while.

It is also possible that with more people able to consider getting health care, ER visits will expand, also.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Skipper your argument is similar to those who say black kids can't learn from teachers who aren't black. I don't like buying into that argument and I hate the divisions being foisted on us.

No, my argument is that in regard to Dr. Tyson, AA is completely irrelevant, because it explains nothing.

[Harry:] Now, to ER visits. Why would they go up, at least initially, if insurance coverage is extended? Think, think, think. Gee, this is so hard.

How about this?

In communities where few people had the means to pay, either directly or via insurance, there are not many primary care physicians. So when people get insurance and are now able to seek care, they cannot sign up for non-existent doctors. So they go where there are doctors.


Harry, ERs were always obligated to take all comers regardless of ability to pay. So the question your supposed answer goes not an inch towards addressing is this: why has there been an increase in ER visits post-ACA, despite the ACA having changed nothing with regard to ERs?

BTW, in the absence of an answer about your bogus assertion above, I'm going with compulsive propagandist.

… able blacks and browns were excluded from vast realms of American life to protect dull white boys.

As Bret noticed, and you failed to take on board, why does not follow from what. If your why was even close to the mark, then Asians and Jews would have been excluded in exactly the same way blacks were.

erp said...

The primary goal of Cosmos version 2.0 is to popularize the latest discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. And it is a completely worthy decision to pick a presenter who is both completely qualified and looks like a part of the prospective audience that has heretofore not participated in the sciences to anywhere near the degree of other ethnic groups.

Here's your argument on which I based my last statement.

erp said...

Able Asians and Jews were excluded. Sheesh. You live in California, don't you?

Oddly enough Harry over 25 years ago in a conversation about affirmative action, I actually had a college admissions officer from California ask me if I wanted to see only Asians in our colleges and universities.


He was surprised when I said yes, if that's what would happen if students were admitted on merit.


I doubt that mentality has changed even though it's alleged against the law now.

Howard said...

Clovis,

I am going to break out the liberty question into a separate post in the near future. The example of Germany is an interesting case but it has some flaws as Hey Skipper has pointed out (there are additional problems). The case of Florence is more of a "Harry" interpretation and not a good example. I am relying on not just my knowledge in saying that but also upon additional material from the author of April Blood. In fairness to Harry, I will read the book before the separate post.

Bret said...

Harry wrote: "Able Asians and Jews were excluded."

Yes, they were. My family has lots of stories of exclusion. So we created our own almost parallel society and flourished eventually. As did Asians. Consider http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-median-income-in-the-us-by-race-2013-9 :

"Among the race groups, Asian households had the highest median income in 2012 ($68,636). The median income for non-Hispanic White households was $57,009, and it was $33,321 for Black households. For Hispanic households the median income was $39,005, ..."

So why not blacks? Why didn't they do what Asians and Jews did? Retreat to their Chinatowns and ghettos and build their futures and thrive without much help from "dull white boys?" Why not? Why were blacks so reliant on "dull white boys" but not other "excluded" groups?

erp said...

Take out West Indians and recent African immigrants and the medium income for blacks will fall far down and I'll bet the medium income from all middle class blacks including those who didn't opt to stay on the plantation will be somewhere near that of whites.

This is reminds me of a story. About 25 years ago, we spent a month in the west including a trip to the Canadian Rockies. Awe-inspiring and mind bendingly gorgeous. We drove back from Calgary through Indian country. It was bleak, dry, desolate, with inhabitants hanging around widely separated outposts which looked like something out of an old western movie

As we drove through, both my husband and I had the same thought. We wondered what the Japanese or Israeli's would have done had they been forced to live in that environment.

Howard said...

Bret wrote: My family has lots of stories of exclusion. So we created our own almost parallel society and flourished eventually.

No surprise, that was the case on both sides of the family. As a trader/investor one of my favorite cases was that of my dads' uncle Bill. He graduated with Chemistry and Chemical Engineering degrees. Most relevant companies were white shoe firms back then. Unable to get a job, he borrowed a modest sum from relatives and made millions trading onion futures back when that was real money. There were plenty of other less spectacular but still solid successes.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Clovis, just what is about my position on Tyson that upsets you? He's at the right age to have been part of affirmative action, so I made the natural assumption that there was every possibility that he wasn't really as good as others in his very specialized field.
If he were older, I wouldn't have questioned his accomplishments. How is this racist?
---

First, you are moving goalposts. You initially posed he was there as narrator only for AA reasons, before ever getting to the trouble of actually informing yourself. If that's not your prejudices acting, I don't know what "prejudice" means anymore. Only after learning he was not only a narrator, but far more qualified than that, you went for his possible AA backrgound when a student.

You also never considered the possibility that, he being black, he could have agency. That's another of your prejudices in action. It didn't cross your mind that he could be there because he acted to be there: the show is in place because he, after proposing it to Druyan, sought to make it happen. HEw as not chosen by others, rather the contrary.

I lose my time going through the trouble of spelling it all out for you Erp, you are hopeless. Both too proud and too old to learn anything new. So I am not answering any other line on this topic.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Clearly it isn't true that tyrannical regimes cannot push technological frontiers, because as your examples show, they can.

However, there is a significant difference between how many, and what kind of, frontiers non-free societies push.
---

I don't think that's so simple. Nazi Germany had a lot of non-military technology getting advanced too. But someone could also argue it was an inertial effect of the developments going on before Nazi ascension to power, so the case is not closed.

But the initial point was really about economic growth and liberty, that's the reason we touched China. In that regard, Nazi Germany also poses a riddle. They did grow quite vigorously back then.

Harry Eagar said...

'I don't think that's so simple. Nazi Germany had a lot of non-military technology getting advanced too. But someone could also argue it was an inertial effect of the developments going on before Nazi ascension to power, so the case is not closed.'

Bingo.

When it came to innovation -- and particularly in moving it to market -- Germany, unfree, began decisively overtaking Britain, relatively free, around 1870. This was due largely to government-inspired policies.

Germany was not merely unfree but classbound, so the situation is not easy to tease out.

Gee, another hard question: how did it come about that a group of highly educated but poor immigrants move faster in modernizing economy than a group of uneducated ex-slaves.

Must think, think, think.

I think if Bret inquires among Asian-Americans in California, he will learn they believe (rightly or wrongly) that they do not get a fair shake in the employment arena. That is what I have heard from them.

In the case of Jews as contrasted with blacks, we can also bring in religion. One has no problem with worldly success, and one does.

Skipper, you need to hang out in a pawnshop. There are other barriers to getting at medical care, including but not limited to shaming (very obvious here on this comment board), transportation, knowledge, and despair.


erp said...

Clovis, my comments make my position clear.

Tyson was appointed to his planetarium post and his hosting post for political reasons, no doubt about that. Skipper thinks that is a good thing because it appeals to those kids least likely to be interested in astrophysics. I say nonsense. It buys into the foolishness that black kids can only learn when being taught by black teachers.

I also said because of his age, it was reasonable to assume/suspect that he was an affirmative action selection. That’s the problem. We can never be sure, unless we are familiar or expert in a field, which minorities are the genuine article and which are not.

Not surprisingly, you haven’t answered my question. Why isn’t your position racist if you think affirmative action will lower standards? You must think that black kids can’t measure up.

That is not my position: my position is that affirmative action artificially raises candidates to meet standards on paper, even if they’re not qualified, so even those eminently qualified will be suspect of not being so as was Tyson.

Affirmative action makes things worse.

Get it?

Lowering all the standards is actually better IMO because then at least all credentials will be equal. Of course, in the case of pilots and others where standards cannot be easily lowered, other criteria must need be created.

erp said...

Whoa, Harry:

In the case of Jews as contrasted with blacks, we can also bring in religion. One has no problem with worldly success, and one does.

We know that Jews have no problem with worldly success due to their religion, right? So, it must be that blacks do have a problem due to theirs? And which religion might that be? Their religion from their African tribes? It sure can't be Black Liberation Theology or The Nation of Islam because like all marxists, they love money.

So Harry which black religion is it that prevents them from achieving monetary success?

The statements above show not only the anti-Semitism just below the surface of your leftist blather, but blatant anti-black racism.

Like Clovis, you really don't think blacks can make it playing on the same field as the rest us never mind all your mealy mouthing about poverty and slavery.

Bret said...

Harry rhetorically asks: "...how did it come about that a group of highly educated but poor immigrants move faster in modernizing economy than a group of uneducated ex-slaves..."

The coolies who came to work on the railroad and who later created the chinatowns, etc., and are now the richest class in America were well educated? News to me.

Or, if you're referring to the Jews, who educated them? I don't think your "dull white boys" did.

Harry wrote: "One has no problem with worldly success, ..."

Ahhhh. The greedy Jew stereotype. Very nice Harry.

But if blacks have a problem with "worldly success" (which is news to me also), perhaps we should just let them be in their poverty.

Harry Eagar said...

'The coolies who came to work on the railroad and who later created the chinatowns, etc., and are now the richest class in America were well educated? News to me.'

I'm sure it is. But the fact (as opposed to the assumption) is that the Chinese immigrants were well-educated and had numerous advanced skills (in, for example, construction in rugged country, something the Central Pacific benefitted from).

In a famous (to liberals) incident from the early days of San Francisco, the white elite sent a letter to the Chinese community written in what they imagined was the best English pidgen the Chinese could handle. The reply came back in perfect Oxonian English.

The Japanese immigrants, too, were fairly well educated, when compared to the low standards of white Americans at the time. Not all, but even the poor farmers were mostly literate, and the Chinese and Japanese communities had leaders who were very well educated and helped them create the modern social infrastructure that assisted in takeoff, once the racist restrictions were undone.

(The Filipino sakadas were not educated, and economically Filipinos did not thrive until a later generation of better-educated immigrants started arriving in the '60s.)

In America, blacks mainly adhere to Christian cults that emphasize rewards in the next life, not here, which is why they were so appealing to white capitalists, who poured money into them. White sectaries of cognate cults are among the least economically successful whites, too.

I certainly expected the racists here to detect latent antisemitism in my remark -- I wasn't found under a cabbage left yesterday -- but it was antichristian. I have attended enough services at the local synagogue and had enough discussions with Rabbi Glickstein to know that, unlike the Christian preachers, Judaism does not disparage business success or urge its sectaries to put off today's desires in hopes of golden crowns and mansions in the afterlife.

I will repeat: the story of the United States is full of interest. You should learn some of it.

erp said...

Harry,

I've learned my history very well and listened to enough bigots tell stories about "Jews, blacks, etc. being some of my best friends" to discern the real meaning in the mealy mouthings.

BTW - I forgot to ask in my last comment, I know there were no blacks and probably no Asians, but were there any Jews in your all white schools in Georgia or was it, West Virginia?

Harry Eagar said...

First, my schools were not all white, and second, they were Catholic, so no Jews.

I cannot recall any Asians but we did have Christian Arabs.

If you knew anything about your own country, and especially about black people, you would have cited a cult that is aimed mainly at blacks and really is as devoted to greed as you suppose, although it is anything but marxist: United Church Science of Living Institute.

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/tony-norman/2009/08/04/The-wretched-venal-life-of-Rev-Ike/stories/200908040223

Howard said...

the story of the United States is full of interest. You should learn some of it.

You can also drown in infinite minutia which is focused too narrowly and miss some bigger important perspectives.

erp said...

Ya got me there Harry. Never heard of it.

Did you suffer being Catholic living in the deep south? I heard that was almost as bad as being black or Jewish.

Harry Eagar said...

Yes, somewhat. Not as bad as being black or Jewish; and I benefitted because my grandfather, a high up Episcopalian layman, after he married an Italian second wife, brokered a meeting between the Grand Dragon of Georgia and the Bishop of Savannah that cooled the Dragon's jets a little.

Hey Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Here's your argument on which I based my last statement.

Clovis is completely correct. Here is what actually happened:

Following Sagan's death in 1996, his widow Ann Druyan, the co-creator of the original Cosmos series along with Steven Soter, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sought to create a new version of the series, aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and not just to those interested in the sciences. They had struggled for years with reluctant television networks that failed to see the broad appeal of the show.

Appealing to affirmative action, in this case, explains nothing. Dr. Tyson is very bright, articulate, and a natural presenter. He has worked hard, and very successfully to be where he is today. Considering his role in bringing about the new Cosmos series, choosing someone else would have needed some serious 'splaining.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Skipper, you need to hang out in a pawnshop. There are other barriers to getting at medical care, including but not limited to shaming (very obvious here on this comment board), transportation, knowledge, and despair.

That poses as an answer while answering nothing, while throwing out a baseless insult (go ahead, find an instance). So what I said before:

[Skipper:] Harry, ERs were always obligated to take all comers regardless of ability to pay. So the question your supposed answer goes not an inch towards addressing is this: why has there been an increase in ER visits post-ACA, despite the ACA having changed nothing with regard to ERs?

Or transportation, or knowledge, or despair.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] But the fact (as opposed to the assumption) is that the Chinese immigrants were well-educated and had numerous advanced skills (in, for example, construction in rugged country, something the Central Pacific benefitted from).

If it is indeed a fact, then I am sure you will be able to provide some evidence for it. Or maybe not.

The Chinese immigrants neither spoke and understood English nor were familiar with western culture and life; they often came from the rural lands in China and therefore had difficulty in adjusting to and finding their way around big towns like San Francisco. The racism they experienced from the European Americans from the outset of their arrival increased continuously to the turn of the 20th century, and prevented with lasting effect their assimilation into mainstream American society. This in turn led to the creation, cohesion, and cooperation of many Chinese benevolent associations and societies whose existence in the U.S. remained far into the 20th century as a necessity both for support and survival for the Chinese in America.

I knew the Chinese immigrants in the 1800s had it bad, but I had no idea how bad bad was until I started doing a little checking up.

I wasn't found under a cabbage left yesterday -- but it [Harry's anti-semitism] was antichristian [which, of course, makes it perfectly OK]. I have attended enough services at the local synagogue and had enough discussions with Rabbi Glickstein to know that, unlike the Christian preachers, Judaism does not disparage business success or urge its sectaries to put off today's desires in hopes of golden crowns and mansions in the afterlife.

I am sure you can give us examples of Christian preachers disparaging business success, or urging it's sectaries to put off today's [economic] desires.

And that would be a doddle compared to explaining what your point is.

erp said...

Skipper,

Tyson, may be the best choice, but it doesn't speak to my contention, that to the public at large, it isn't clear his selection isn't a result of AA and can never be even if AA is outlawed those coming up during those years will forever be tainted by it...

and unless subsequent episodes were greatly improved, the series will probably not accomplish its goal of persuading those not inclined toward science to consider it.

In fact, for bright knowledgeable kids, it might do the opposite.

Why is this simple position not understood?

Harry Eagar said...

Well, that quotation doubles down on my point about the ignorance of the whites in SF. Where did I say the Chinese had western educations, and who in the world would have expected them to?

But that did not mean they were not educated. In Hawaii (although this was in kingdom days), it was a Chines immigrant who built the first sugar mill. None of the Euro-Americans in the islands at the time had any knowledge of how to make sugar. (Or later, for that matter; for a long time Hawaiian sugar was so bad that it could not be sold in competition with good Peruvian sugar.)

A good source on the skills brought to the CP by the Chinese is Stephen Ambrose, 'Nothing Like It in the World.'