Bloomberg/Halperin/Twitter + Trump poll

Trump poll

24 hour poll posted on Twitter this morning by Mark Halperin, Managing Editor of Bloomberg Politics and much more. He also offered a version without the option of Boycotting the election. After seeing the response to this, the original version.

I find this especially interesting. Over the course of the day, the first 2 options went from fairly even and totaling about 43% of the poll – to the current 50:7 split. The two options of Hillary or Boycott only dropped from 57% down to 43% – about the same proportions as present, though.

The critical decision being almost half Republicans – or pretend Republicans – would rather not vote or would vote for Hillary instead of voting for Trump.

The checkmark by Hillary was in the screenshot I grabbed. I guess that was the last voter’s choice. You can see the count was up to over 2000 voters which is a larger sample than many legit polls.

Nuclear reactor shut down by bird poop

Bird poop was the likely cause of a December shutdown at a nuclear power plant outside New York City, according to the operator.

An Indian Point reactor safely shut down for three days starting Dec. 14 following an electrical disturbance on outdoor high voltage transmission lines, Entergy Corp. said. An outside expert is analyzing whether what’s technically called bird “streaming” was the culprit.

In a report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last month, the New Orleans-based company said the automatic reactor shutdown was apparently from bird excrement that caused an electric arc between wires on a feeder line at a transmission tower…

Plant managers told the NRC they were revising preventive maintenance for additional inspection and cleaning and installing bird guards on transmission towers.

Nappi said he couldn’t recall a similar incident in the past several years from birds at Indian Point, which is located along the Hudson River north of New York City. He didn’t immediately know what type of bird was suspected. No carcass was found…

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Eliot Brenner said it’s not uncommon for wildlife to trigger electrical outages on transmission lines regardless of the generation source of the electricity. “Squirrels are the biggest offenders,” he said.

He didn’t know if the NRC was specifically tracking animal-related reactor outages. “They’re kind of few and far between, but certainly not unheard of,” he said…

In the past year alone there have been a number of mishaps at Indian Point, including a power failure in the reactor core, a transformer fire, an alarm failure, and the escape of radiated water into groundwater. The plant sits about 25 miles north of New York City.

Yeah, yeah. They always blame squirrels.

Ruling class takes care of their own and no one else. For example —


Illustration from BIDNESSETC.COM

Bob Dudley, the chief executive of BP, earned nearly $20 million last year – at a time when the company ran up the biggest losses in its financial history and axed thousands of jobs.

The $19.6 million remuneration bonanza was condemned by the High Pay Centre as another example of a company losing “contact with reality” when it came to handing out fortunes to top executives.

The 20% year-on-year increase in salary, shares and pension payments was revealed in the oil group’s annual report.

Plunging crude prices and continuing liabilities emanating from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2011 led BP to report a record 2015 deficit of $6.5 billion.

The company said Dudley deserved his increase in total remuneration because he and his fellow directors had performed strongly at a difficult time…

Does anyone think the 7,000 workers who lost their jobs are off on holiday on the Riviera? They’re going on the dole. Making do until another job comes available in this stellar global economy managed from one disaster to another by pointy-heads on Wall Street and the City of London.

Who will continue to take care of their own.

Fixing Obamacare is not good enough

medicare for all

National health insurance has become a defining issue in the contest for the Democratic nomination. Bernie has put “Medicare for all” squarely back on the table. Hillary calls that pie-in-the-sky: instead, she would build on the Affordable Care Act…As she says, market-based private insurance was originally her idea.

We can all agree that the ACA has benefited many, particularly the poor and the sick.

But Medicare for all has picked up some interesting supporters: for example, Fareed Zakaria, a high-profile TV commentator whose beat is foreign affairs, and Donald Berwick, MD, who, as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, supervised the roll-out of the ACA.

Moreover, the Kaiser Family Foundation December 2015 Tracking Poll demonstrates majority support among ordinary Americans – 58%; a 2014 survey of physicians and medical students in Maine showed that many doctors also (in Maine at least) would prefer single-payer, especially those practicing primary care.

So it is disappointing that liberal economists whom I respect, such as New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, conclude that single-payer would be too expensive and too disruptive — that we should improve the ACA instead.

Krugman, of course, is trained to crunch numbers — I can’t. But from the exam room where I sit, his conclusion doesn’t make sense. The principal advantage of single-payer, after all, is that it is less expensive than our market-based system.

That is not just idle speculation: every other developed nation has either some form of single-payer or highly regulated private insurance with price controls — and they all achieve better health outcomes, with genuinely universal coverage, for at least 30% less (as a fraction of the Gross Domestic Product) than we do, even though we still cover something less than the entire population.

Perhaps the economists simply substituted Treasury payments for employers’ contributions to their employees’ health insurance (something the ACA was specifically designed to preserve), and left everything else in place: that would indeed be a huge hit to the federal budget, particularly since employers, representing a large group of mostly healthy employee families, can negotiate better deals with insurers than individuals can.

But that is not how Medicare for all would work. Instead, it would be like Medicare today, improved to make it even less expensive for the Treasury and individual beneficiaries. Since everyone would receive the same, comprehensive benefits, administrative costs would be much lower. The huge transaction costs engendered by the ACA — hundreds of thousands of annual negotiations between insurers, doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical benefit managers, and manufacturers — would decline significantly…

Finally — and most controversially — Medicare, which currently sets prices for doctors and hospitals, would extend price controls to other health services, such as prescription drugs and devices, through open procedures with due process and opportunity for comment as mandated by the Constitution. Or Medicare could negotiate prices, as the Department of Veterans Affairs currently does.

I didn’t include the whole article. The core is here. RTFA for details – which further illustrate the benefits of Dr. Poplin’s proposal. I’m pleased she included mention of the negotiations already standard procedure for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Nothing new. Part of normal operations for years resulting in significant cost savings.

Speaking of costs, you should take notice of the history of what’s accepted as standard in the medical-industrial complex vs federal government management of Medicare or, say, Social Security. Administrative costs to civil service managers run in general less than 3% to run those programs. Insurers bag taxpayers 15-25% for the same kind of work.

A cost I look forward to seeing brought down to the level of existing entitlements.