People don’t understand how government bureaucracies like the VA work

Auto critic / columnist Mark Phelan at Detroit’s more liberal paper just doesn’t get it. He thinks one man, retiring Ford CEO Alan Mulally, could turn around the bureaucratic cesspool known as the VA:

Alan Mulally should be the next secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Mulally made a fortune as Ford CEO, earning every penny by changing the company’s famously dysfunctional culture and keeping Ford out of bankruptcy. Mulally will undoubtedly earn far more as companies bid for his services after he leaves his Dearborn office on June 30.

But first, a job that promises poor pay, lousy hours and boundless stress is crying out for Mulally’s experience and expertise. He hasn’t been nominated, or even named as a candidate, but the record suggests he has what it takes.

People mistakenly think a government bureaucracy can be run like a business. Bureaucracies can’t run like a business and will never run like a business because there is no profit motive driving a government bureaucracy. With no profit motive there is no real measurable (i.e. profit) providing a means of accountability for the multitudes of workers at all levels in an organization such as the VA. And with no profit motive and no competition, there is no way the VA will significantly improve. End of story.

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Mulally is undoubtedly an outstanding executive able to turn around large corporations, but it’s misguided to think that any individual is capable turning around a large government bureaucracy. The only action that could right the VA is sending it to the private sector where there’s competition and a profit motive.

Of course this will never happen, the power and control associated with running the VA is too near and dear to politicians hallow cavity where their hearts were once located to ever let that happen.

If you think the VA scandal is frustrating, just wait until ObamaCare is fully implemented.

Guy who obviously didn’t play a down of football explains why soccer is the superior sport

Apparently the World Cup soccer tournament is in full swing and, like clockwork, non-soccer fans everywhere are subjected to our quadrennial dose of soccer snobbery.

While the snobbery is expected from oh-so-well heeled and very liberal sportswriters, it is particularly galling when it comes from the likes of conservatives such as Breitbart’s Mike Flynn:

Every athlete has a clearly defined and limited “position.” Teams run pre-set “plays” which are memorized by players and dictated by coaches on the sidelines. In football, coaches determine every play and the athletes just execute the plays. Individual players can execute these plays brilliantly, but they rarely have the opportunity to seize the initiative and execute a new pattern based on situations on the field.

Obviously, this guy has never played a down of organized football in his life. Sure, coaches sends in plays from the sideline, however players make numerous adjustments to the “pre-set play” prior to the snap. Offensive linemen make a series of “tackle calls” to co-ordinate how the blocking scheme is executed based on how the defensive players are aligned. If a passing play is called, running backs will either stay and block or release for a pass based on the defensive scheme presented. Receivers adjust pass routs based on where defensive backs are positioned and so-on. On the defensive side of the ball, the game is played much the same way.

In reality, a so-called “set” football play is more like a computer program executed by the teams “if the defensive tackle lines up in my gap then…” If Flynn had played the game, he might understand this.

Flynn continues…

The oft-repeated observation that football is “American” or “red-blooded” because of all the tackling reminds me of a short guy driving a Hummer. Have these people heard of rugby? France, of all places, after all, is a powerhouse of a sport which is American football without the pads.

If sports writers can square that knot, then perhaps I’ll listen to their criticisms about soccer.

Every time I hear the rugby thing it drives me crazy. Having played both football (a lot) and rugby (once or twice) the games are very different and I will square that knot for Mr. Flynn.

No doubt, rugby is a tough game. However if pro rugby players are so much tougher than say, an NFL player (since they don’t wear pads), why aren’t there more rugby players in the NFL pulling down multi-million dollar contracts? The NFL is hyper competitive. If a team feels they could gain the slightest edge by paying a pro rugby player a huge NFL contract, you know they would. An NFL team would pick up someone like rugby player Hayden Smith:

Smith was looking at the possibility of playing in the NFL and had a workout with the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and the New Orleans Saints.[5][6]

The New York Jets signed Smith on April 3, 2012.[7] He was waived on August 31, 2012.[8] A day later, he was signed to the Jets’ practice squad.[9] On October 27, 2012, He was promoted to the active roster from the practice squad.[10] He caught his first and only NFL pass on December 23,2012. [11] He was released on August 26, 2013.[12]

I guess all that toughness, playing without pads, didn’t pay off for Smith. I fairness, most rugby players in the NFL are punters since kicking in rugby (Australian rules) requires a lot of skill that translates well to the NFL.

As far as personal preference, the sport I tend to enjoy most as a spectator is hockey.

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Now that is a rough game.

Anyhow, getting back to the quadrennial dose of soccer snobbery. I expect lib’s to continually try to coerce everyone into the soccer collective through constant haranguing. It’s what liberals do. I just don’t expect the haranguing from the conservative side. It’s not our style.

Happy B-Day Les Paul

Les Paul would have been 99 years old today.

A few months ago, I made a day trip to the Rock and Roll hall of fame and I spent more time at the (surprisingly extensive) Les Paul display then anywhere else. Not only was the man a technological genius, he was a fantastic musician and great entertainer.

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Here’s Les Paul with Chet Atkins.

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And this beer commercial

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“What’s your name?”… “It’s on your guitar.”

Too cool.

Enviro-nuts are thankful Obama is taking dictatorial approach to global warming

You know how they say the Environmental movement is the new home for displaced communists. This Op-Ed posted at the National Journal confirms that old saw:

In college classes, climate change is taught as a textbook example of where democracy fails. And there are a whole host of reasons to think America will fail on climate change: We’ve waited too long; the consequences aren’t as tangible as in other areas of policy; we’re bad at sacrificing in the short term to achieve in the long term.

President Obama, who on Monday rolled out landmark regulations for coal-fired power plants, has found a way around that age-old political problem posed by climate change and democracies, in part by acting a little bit more like a dictator. This is something he’s been skewered for on the right, with Rush Limbaugh accusing the White House of focusing on global warming just because “it offers the president opportunities to be dictatorial.”

Limbaugh is onto something, but he has it precisely backward: The decision to use executive authority is the means, not the ends. It also makes a lot of sense when it comes to global warming given Congress’s failure to pass the Waxman-Markey energy bill in 2009, and, for decades before that, to pass any sort of comprehensive climate legislation whatsoever.

By ‘climate change’ what environmentalists mean is global warming and, if we’re talking decades, it was less than four decades ago, the scientific community was hyping global cooling and an impending ice age. Remember this?

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Returning to the original point, leftists are resorting to the ‘dictatorial’ rout to consolidate more power within the Federal Government because most Americans aren’t buying the global warming hype. Furthermore, why does every so-called solution to ‘global warming’ involve heavy handed government regulation, punitive taxes and wealth redistribution through the U.N.?

Global warming will increase the variability of weather and most likely result in more extreme weather events. The Munich Re NatCatSERVICE data on loss relevant natural disasters already show such a trend for the last 30 years. The Germanwatch Climate Risk Index, which ranks the countries according to their extreme weather risks, shows that all countries in the top ten of this index are developing countries, led by Bangladesh, Myanmar and Honduras. 95% of fatalities from natural disasters in the last 25 years occurred in developing countries.

Furthermore, indices characterizing the expected range of future changes of climate like the Climate Change Index (Baettig et al., 2007) clearly show that in many developing countries these changes will be most pronounced. Taking into consideration that already today the climate conditions in many of these countries are on the edge of allowing a sustainable livelihood to the people, only small changes can put this at risk.

Developing countries do not have a history of large emissions of green house gases and thus have not contributed significantly to the causes of climate change. So it is in the responsibility of the industrialized countries, which have caused the problem, to support the people in the developing countries to mitigate climate risks and help them to adapt to the changes.

Scientific consensus doesn’t equal scientific proof and furthermore, isn’t it the job of scientists to be skeptical,

antarctica temeratures last 4000 years- vostok ice core

Looking at the above chart (click for a larger version), the 1970′s scientist might have been on to something after all. I wonder if they had consensus?

H/T: The Hockey Schtick 

Bernie Sanders champion of government run health care needs private medical system to bail out VA 

This just about says it all. Socialist Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) sponsored a bill (with the help of the Democrats greatest ally,vRINO John McCain) allowing veterans in certain situation opt out of the VA system and obtain health care through the private sector:

The agreement also would give veterans greater flexibility to seek medical care at facilities not run by VA if they are experiencing long wait times or live more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital or clinic. Veterans could choose instead to seek care at private facilities that accept Medicare, federally qualified health centers, Indian Health Service facilities or medical facilities run by the Defense Department.

So, what was the Socialist Senator saying about government run healthcare less than a year ago?

 It boggles the mind that approximately 30 percent of every healthcare dollar spent in the United States goes to administrative costs rather than to delivering care. Taiwan, for example, spends only a little over 6 percent of its GDP on healthcare, while achieving better health outcomes on some key indicators than we do. The reason, of course, is that they spend a fraction of what we do on administrative costs.

If our goal is to provide high-quality healthcare in a cost-effective way, what should we be doing?

Clearly, we must move toward a single-payer system.

The health insurance lobby and other opponents of single-payer care make it sound scary. It’s not. In fact, a large-scale single-payer system already exists in the United States. It’s called Medicare. People enrolled in the system give it high marks. More importantly, it has succeeded in providing near-universal coverage to Americans over the age of 65.

Establishing a single-payer system will mean peace of mind for all Americans. When health insurance is no longer tied to employment, people will not fear losing both their job and their family’s access to healthcare. Millions of Americans won’t have to stay in jobs they don’t like because their family needs healthcare. Entrepreneurs and small businesses will be free to develop their business plans without worrying about the cost and complexity of providing healthcare for themselves and their employees.

Wow, Sanders vision sounds a lot like the VA Healthcare system… Except for the “peace of mind” part… And the “high marks” part… And the “30 percent of every healthcare dollar spent in the United States goes to administrative costs” part…

Sean Hannity misses the point regarding Obama’s war on coal

I caught part of the Sean Hannity show today around 4:00 EST when he was riffing on about Obama’s war on coal and said (I’m paraphrasing) “Obama’s regulation of coal power will make us more dependant on foreign oil.”

One small problem, we don’t burn oil to generate electricity, therefore Dear Leaders’s latest move will not impact oil imports.

us electricity generation

BTW, The 13% renewable number includes a significant amount of hydroelectric power.

It’s important to get this correct, because this is really much worse than simply importing more oil. When we take coal generating capacity offline, there aren’t other sources of power to take its place. We import only a small amount of electricity from Canada and Mexico, this means electricity is going to become significantly more expensive and during peak demand, we run the risk of regional blackouts because there are no power reserves in the grid.

Treehuggers whine it’s not a ‘car lane’ or a ‘truck lane’ or a ‘stroller lane’ or a ‘jogging lane’

bike basket 3 feet please

Being a lib / treehugger / Democrat must take a lot of energy. It seems they are in a constant state of agitation. If they aren’t protesting global warming or childhood obesity, they are screeching about getting everyone to ride bikes rather than drive cars. And, to get everyone to give up their cars and start peddling, they need to chip away at road space designated for cars and trucks and set them aside for everyone’s favorite green mode of transportation (who’s engine emits CO2 by the way) the bicycle.

Today, after much haranguing by the green warriors, many cities have designated ‘bicycle’ lanes that seem to have more pedestrian and vehicular traffic than actual bicycle traffic, and our green warriors are not happy. Not one bit:

Every time there is a discussion about bike lanes or making room for cyclists, there are a thousand Dorothy Rabinowitz clones rising up to protest “when cyclists follow the rules and stop at stop signs, then we might consider giving them space.” However when cyclists finally do get a bit of space, their bit of paint on the pavement, it’s another story. In New York, Eben Weiss, AKA the Bike Snob NYC is fed up. Everybody complains about the “killer cyclists” and then just take over the bike lane. He shows a few dozen photos of how you can barely find the bike lane under all the cars and pedestrians, and notes:

None of this is to begrudge pedestrians their lebenstraum. We are animals after all, and as such we should be permitted to roam, like free range chickens. I merely point this out because: 1) It’s fun to take pictures of strangers; and 2) It totally undermines the false premise that cyclists are a problem in New York City. If anything, we’re treated like guests in our own home, and unwanted ones at that.

Too funny…

walikng in the bike lane

And this little rant is cute:

The first tip off is the name: “bike lane.” It’s not a “car lane” or a “truck lane” or a “stroller lane” or a “jogging lane.” It’s not a “Purolator lane” or a “trucker-needs a-coffee-lane.” It’s not a “waiting-for-your-spouse-lane” or a “small-right-hand-passing-lane.” It’s a bike lane.

It’s a lane that cyclists use to move about. It separates automobile and bicycle traffic, so that each can flow. The theory is that if we have all these lovely inviting bike lanes then more people will cycle and this will alleviate congestion. It’s all about the flow. It’s all about the commuter feng shui.

Awww….

Fields of Schemes: Brazil’s Nonexistent World Cup Economic Boost

Who could have possibly seen stadium building and hosting a major sporting event not living up to its promise?

Via WSJ:

The explanation goes beyond sports. For many Brazilians, the Cup has become a symbol of the unfulfilled promise of an economic boom for this South American nation. But the boom has fizzled. And now the World Cup’s $11.5 billion price tag—the most expensive ever—and a list of unfinished construction projects have become reminders of the shortcomings that many believe keep Brazil poor: overwhelming bureaucracy, corruption and shortsighted policy-making that prioritizes grand projects over needs like education and health care.

Why people put their faith in government to deliver complicated and critical things such as ‘education’ and ‘healthcare’ when they can’t even deliver a straightforward building projects is baffling.

**** Side-note: Can’t post a “soccer” story without a soccer dive video ****

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If you are interested in non-dives, click here.