August 20, 2009

Economics is not science

I had two survey courses in Economics, maybe not enough to make this statement, but I have been immersed in math at times and feel that economics is more closely related; a cross between math and psychology. I had never been able to argue why it is not science. I cannot say that he thinks as I, but a fellow blogger, Emil Jung has wrote a post which perfectly describe my thoughts. I can not adequately paraphrase his post, Proof, not truth . It is written so that I would have to quote the whole post. Follow the link.

There are those that follow a specific theory of economics as if it is the absolute truth and think that the unfettered free market will solve all problems of society. It is interesting that when the markets failed recently there was never a question that somehow they could not rely on their economic theory, only that there were variables that kept it from being a true market. Okay lets look at the variable, a mathematical term. They can prove a specific outcome if every variable is known and when it applies to science, experiment has to define these variables. In a sentient world where there is consciousness outside of the natural world, those variables can change in an instant following no particular pattern. Human behavior is not like Quantum Physics. The best predictor of human behavior is another human not mathematics. In the PBS series,
The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson interviews a top hedge fund CEO Ken Griffin. He describes how mathematics and intuition plays a role in assessing risk. Here is the interview, it is within the first three minutes of this video.

August 17, 2009

To protest what?

If it is legal to openly carry an assault weapon in public, then why is it a protest to do so. I see it as a threat, not a protest, to do so in the line of site of the President.

As they say, gun don't kill people, people do. Well, I think some of those people would.

August 12, 2009

Why is this?

It seems that even the mention of President Obama in any context evokes seizures and spastic utterings. These were the
White House Choices of the Medal of Freedom, as with any administration's.

I was surprised at the comments.

August 07, 2009

Patient No.5

Patient No. 5 - I am here for my 2 o'clock appointment.
Receptionist - Sign in and have a seat.

5 minutes later

Receptionist - Patient No.5!... I need your referral and Insurance ID.

Patient No.5 - My referral should be in the system.

Gives receptionist ID and she says, " Sir, you will need to call your doctor, because it is not in the system and have them fax the referral to us.

Patient No.5 calls his doctor and his receptionist tells Patient No.5 that their last submission has been rejected, because his insurance has been canceled. He tries not to lose his cool and ask that his records be checked again. Again the same answer. He is seeing the doctor for a test, he'll see if he can be billed for the test until he straightens his insurance out. The receptionist tells him they cannot bill but he could use his credit card. Wishing not to use his card, he cancels this appointment and reschedules, with the hope that everything will be OK by the time of the next appointment.

When he arrives home and listens to his voice mail. He had missed his doctor's call. He knew that his employer had change their coverage, didn't change insurances, though. How did he fall through the cracks? It must be that the stars had converged to create this bad karma.

Patient NO.5 calls insurance company and tells the representative what has happened. The rep gets his personal information, pulls up the account and tells him that he's been dropped because of a pre-existing condition,

Patient No.5 - That can't be, I have not changed companies, there is a law.

Ins. Rep - Sir, that has not been the case since 2012, regulation governing health insurance had been rescinded. We sent you that info, when we sent your statement of benefits.

Patient No.5 - I want to speak to No. 1.

No.2 - May I help you, Sir.

Patient No.5 - Are you No.1?

No.2 - No! ...

Patient No.5 thinks to himself that he fairly well off, he will do some shopping and after all there is Medicare. Hangs up, downloads a list and proceeds to call the first. The list is rather short, since in the last decade there has been much consolidation. After he's interviewed by the last on his list, he realizes that he can not afford the coverage to include his precondition or he cannot be insured. Since he is 65, and he thinks that program has to take him, although he abhors public insurance, but he has no choice, that test is essential. He calls and finds out that the age he would be eligible had been raised to 70. He had not been paying attention, since what he favored, free market health care with no government influence to skew the system, lower to no taxes on his income and the government he longed for was in power.

Hospital Clerk - PATIENT NO.5!

Patient No.5 - YO!

Shouting is necessary to be heard over the crowd.

August 06, 2009

Urban Renewal

In recent years "Urban Renewal" had been tagged "Black Removal," because most neighborhoods that were effected were Black, usually mixed income. When I was young most black people hadn't caught on to the gimmick. We truly believed we would get a fair price for our property and that when the highway was built there would be new homes built and low income and moderate housing would be in the mix. This was supposed to improve the neighborhood. In my home town, there were a few apartments built and homes for the aged, but no invigorated neighborhood; that didn't happen until 40 years later when gentrification came. In order to fill in the highway for over 50 miles, not only were homes razed, but two hills. The terrain was totally changed, so the 8 square block area in which I lived disappeared. I can not drive or walk by the old house, show my son where I went to elementary school or walk around the river where one hill was cliff like. I think the pictures that my father had taken years earlier in the thirties were thrown out when my parents had to move to assisted living. There may be one surviving picture of my younger sister and bother with our cousin in front of the house. Not only did that change the neighborhood, the highway changed the city from a walking city to a city like the suburbs. It also disperse black people and created new neighborhoods that would further isolate the poor and create instability. Over time even those neighborhoods became gentrified and the poor Black folks seem to disappear.

I can not go home.

A reader had sent me an e-mail to tell me about a neighbor who had suffered form being displaced from New Orleans and recommends that I read this article, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans. The author William River Pitt, describes the feeling of missing his home and describes the events surrounding hurricane Katrina, then laments the hole left in the Ninth Ward and how New Orleans has changed since this catastrophe.

What does it mean to miss New Orleans? It means knowing that one of the most golden citadels of our shared history - a cradle of multiculturalism, the birthplace of jazz, seed corn of so much that is America - was allowed to die of neglect, disdain, racism, greed and simple stupidity right before our eyes. A city stands where New Orleans once was, but it is not New Orleans, not really.
After Katrina there were many blog voices bashing the poor with all the trite, racist and ignorant assumptions. There was no understanding of the make up of the population of New Orleans, it was seen as a Southern Disneyland, albeit a salacious one. They didn't see any middle class folk as victims of the storm or how most could not rebuild, because insurance companies reneged. They were also blind to folks that were working class or working poor who owned and lost property to the hurricane. They projected the whole of the city as dependent and helpless, because they have been coddled by the government. Their code words implied black folk on welfare, undeserving of any help. This prevented many from seeing victims as they were. This was done while some were saying donate to the Salvation Army or Red Cross. The survivalist came out of the woodwork convinced they would have been heroes. These were such strange messages. I am not saying that there not any bloggers who were speaking the truth about the victims, but it was far too much Katrina victim bashing. I think it had a great impact on how the city was treated and the ineffective governing and policy making could always be shifted to the moral failure of the citizens of New Orleans. I have seen this theme reoccur over four years and expect to see more of it as the anniversary gets close.

William River Pitt said: "All that was the city, all that it gave this country, and so many of the people who lived there, are gone forever. " His city has disappeared. In time, I think sooner than forty years it will become gentrified and the folk who lived in the Ninth Ward will have disappeared and been fogotten. A highway will not have caused Urban Renewal, but a Cat 5 hurricane.