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How stupid are we again?

Health and New York City officials were trying Friday morning to follow the trail of a young emergency room doctor who traveled about the city for three days before being hospitalized for the Ebola virus.

The doctor, Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders who had been working in Guinea, returned six days ago and reported Thursday morning coming down with a 100.3-degree fever and diarrhea. He was being treated in an isolation ward at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center.

In the days before Spencer fell ill, he went on a 3-mile jog, went to the High Line park, rode the subway and, on Wednesday night, got a taxi to a Brooklyn bowling alley. Bassett said he felt fatigued Wednesday but not feverish until Thursday morning.

Ok, so this guy was over in Guinea working with ebola patients.  He returned to the United States without going through an isolation period after not only being a known "hot zone" but actively working with patients with the disease and now he has potentially exposed a huge number of people in New York.

I'm sorry, this is just plain stupid -- and we're (probably) going to get damn lucky (again) that this virus is very hard to transmit until you are acutely ill.

But it calls into question our intelligence.

Obviously we cannot isolate everyone that travels internationally (you might as well shut down all international travel if you do that) but someone who was not only in a nation where the disease is rampant but was actively treating ebola patients should have been, in my view, isolated for 21 days on return to the United States as a precaution.

Yeah, I know, I know, the odds aren't high that something "bad" will happen.  So what?  The consequences of being wrong are high and the number of people for which prospective isolation has to take place is very low -- in this case, anyone known to have had contact with (whether precautions were taken or not!) active ebola cases while outside the United States.

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From the Journal... Inc. ’s soaring ambitions are coming at a steep cost, dragging the e-commerce giant to its largest quarterly loss in 14 years.

A surge in spending on new-product development, music and video licensing, and other parts of the Seattle company’s expansion strategy led to a net loss of $437 million in the third quarter, worse than its year-earlier loss of $41 million. The wider loss came despite a 20% jump in revenue to $20.58 billion.

Ambitions eh?

Well, that's very nice.  I'm sure you're aware that it's pretty trivial to spend like a drunken sailor on ambitions -- in his case on that pretty gal in the bar.  Of course that doesn't mean you're going to score on those ambitions, you know.....

I've been amazed for years that the market has given Bezos a pass on actually earning anything at all on these ambitions.  Profits will come, we're told, but the obvious question is "when??"

It has appeared for a couple of years now that the answer was always destined to be never, and that the only way Amazon could possibly maintain its alleged "growth" was to basically give away product, R&D and fulfillment at below the cost of production.  

That shouldn't surprise at all; it's usually very easy to be "successful", measured by the number of units of "X" you deliver, if you don't care if you make any money doing it!

If Amazon can't actually turn a profit while operating then I argue the stock is worthless.

If they can -- why don't they?

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Again?  Sweet Jesus, you're stupid.

October 17, 2014 The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Friday that he and President Obama agree on the importance of protecting net neutrality.

"My position is unchanged," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a press conference. "The president and I agree—and have always agreed—on the importance of an open Internet."

But net-neutrality advocates responded that as long as Wheeler supports allowing large companies to pay for special "fast lanes" on the Internet, he and the president are miles apart.


Such private deals are as old as the Internet itself.  That most of the time they don't involve the exchange of actual money has nothing to do with whether they exist:  In-kind transport is how the Internet works, by and large, and always has worked since the first commercial connections showed up.

Value comes in many forms and all of it can be reduced to dollars, if you insist on doing so.  That it's not denominated in dollars doesn't mean it can't be reduced to them, because it always can.  It's just pointless to do so when the value equation is reasonably balanced -- that is, what you give and get are roughly of equal worth.

You and I can engage in such a transaction if, for example, you brew your own beer.  If I like to drink beer and you have a lawn that needs mowed, you might offer me a few pints to be consumed while mowing said lawn.  This transaction is an exchange of value, and while neither of us formally accounts for it using dollars nor do we hand them across to one another the fact is that such a transaction of value took place.

Such it is on the Internet as a whole; each provider of end connections to someone comes up with a value and pricing model across their network and with the interchange that takes place with other networks.  Some of those model components involve the formal spending (or receipt) of funds, and others do not.  But all of them have value -- and without them the entire network collapses.

The issue that Wheeler has, and refuses to discuss honestly (along with Obama) is that these equations are not always equal and thus someone has to pay someone else, because one party gets (massively) more value out of the transaction than the other.

The obvious one is that you pay for your end connection because you offer only cost, and no value of materiality, to the provider.  But there are many more situations where this same fact applies.

The market sorts this out, in the general sense, and has done a pretty good job.  Disputes and even outright hostilities (sometimes including lawsuits and similar) do arise, but that's part of business and is good, not bad.  Through that process innovators are rewarded; those who can deliver more at less cost.  Those who are not innovative but simply are a sink on someone else's assets eventually find themselves with a business model problem and either have to change how they operate or risk going out of business.  This too is good.

Obama cannot change the law of common business balance and neither can Wheeler.  It's simple: You must give at least as much value as you receive in a transaction or eventually the distortion you introduce causes one of the parties in the transaction to go bankrupt.

What drives people to come up with new and innovative ways to do things that dramatically reduce cost and thus improve the economics of the transaction for everyone is this fact.  If I can find a way to deliver web hosting for less than anyone else, or Internet access, or any other service by using my brainpower and developing a newer paradigm then I win immediately and you, as the customer, win over time.  I win because my margins expand and I make more money; this allows me to hire more people and become larger.  You win because ultimately my innovation causes others to either find a way to copy what I did (without violating my patents and copyrights, if I have any) and that in turn drives down prices, so you get more while spending less.  In the interim my expansion leads to more employment and those new employees (and the raises I pay to existing ones) buys cars, food, power and expensive toys from others -- maybe you.

If you mandate that this process not take place through the force of law you get what we had in the United States when there was only "Ma Bell" -- no innovation and much higher prices.

Who remembers paying exorbitant toll charges to make a phone call just a few dozen miles away?  How much do you pay now per-minute for the same call?  Over a cell, zero -- I had two half-hour calls yesterday each spanning hundreds of miles that I would have never, ever made 20 or 30 years ago simply due to cost.

Don't fall for the Democrat crap on this folks.  Innovation requires that the market be allowed to work, not mandated out of existence, and the cost-shifting model Obama favors is exactly why your medical care costs 10x or more what it should and is bankrupting you, Obamacare or no.

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Unless, of course, you're a Christian.  Then Congress and other organs of government will make lots of laws that dictate how your religion must operate, such as what they've apparently done here.

Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.

So about that Catholic Synod recently...

The Church teaches: "No grounds whatsoever exist for assimilating or drawing analogies, however remote, between homosexual unions and God's design for matrimony and the family." Nevertheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies should be accepted with respect and sensitivity. "Any sign of unjust discrimination in their regard is to be avoided."

Uh...... got handcuffs?

Now here's the problem, in a nutshell: None of this has anything to do with who you love and what gender they are.  If you think so you have rocks in your head.  If you promote this from a public-policy standpoint you're a financial rapist.

Most people know about the so-called marriage penalty which applies generally to those who are married and have two incomes in the family.  Most of the time you wind up penalized for being in this situation compared against one of you filing head-of-household (if you have kids) and the other as single.  Not always, but most of the time.

The government of course loves gay couples in this regard if they can be "married" because a very large percentage of them will have no children (which is generally not true for heterosexual couples.)  

But where the real screw job comes in is when you get older!

See, Medicaid covers nursing home care -- after you spend all your assets down first.  Here's the problem -- your assets are joint if you're married, and that's a huge problem if one of you gets sick and the other is not.  Before you can avail yourself of that program you must dissipate the marital assets first, which means your surviving spouse is ****ed after you die.  (While there is allegedly "spousal impoverishment" protection in this regard it's crap in point of fact and will screw the surviving spouse; the annual income that can be "protected" in this fashion is only around $23,000.)  And oh by the way, if you try to transfer assets to get around this you will run into lookback and penalty clauses designed to prohibit that.

The only other meaningful exception is your primary residence (with a cap on value) if your spouse (or a dependent offspring) is still living there.

Marriage should be between you and a religious order, nothing more or less.  It most-certainly should not result in your most-loved individual being hosed should you get older, because we all do.  Yet it does, will, and as the noose of ever-higher medical scams continues to tighten this becomes a larger and larger problem that bites more and more people.

Heh look over there, gays -- you signed up willingly to get reamed like this 10, 20 or 30 years down the road -- and I bet you didn't understand that when you argued for "marriage equality", did you?

Be careful what you wish for -- you might get it.

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So about that so-called "degree" you're sporting, son....

More than 3,000 students at the University of North Carolina -- nearly half of them athletes -- were enrolled in a "shadow curriculum" over a two-decade period that involved no-show classes and bogus grades, according to a report released by the school on Wednesday.

In other words the so-called "degree" documented exactly nothing -- and it was not limited to athletes either.

This of course means that for an employer the only thing you can do is treat all degrees from this place as worthless, until and unless they are all revoked, every person involved is identified, those who participated in any way are prosecuted for fraud (since said credentials were then used to defraud employers) and imprisoned.

None of which, by the way, is likely to ever happen.

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