Category Archives: Uncategorized

Voting II – Can Ranked Choice Voting Save Democracies Around the World?

We tend to think of polarization and divisiveness as symptoms of the current administration in the U.S. and maybe they will just disappear with future elections; well that’s not going to happen.  This has been trending for over forty years and getting rid of Trump will not change this.  Putin’s efforts to undermine the institutions of democracies around the world exploits this vulnerability, but this only highlights how bad it can get. With or without Putin’s help polarization will bring an end to many democratic regimesContinue reading

TrumpCare Fails the Most Basic Tests of Insurance

My late father, a staunch Republican would sometimes muse, “Which is the greater problem we face, ignorance or apathy?”, only to conclude most would respond, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”  As a life-long Republican myself, it pains me to say that in passing the AHCA, House Republicans are guilty of both.

I spent 30 years in the insurance industry and I can attest the health insurance is complicated.  But the basics are simple!  On day-one of my insurance career in 1970, I learned that insurance serves but one purpose as the instructor drew this “risk treatment” chart on the board. 

I would have to say what the House has passed on to the Senate is a “fine health savings plan.” In other words it fully addresses risks from the left side of the chart, things we could handle on our own with a little planning and budgeting, while excluding entirely anything that might meet the definition of an insurable risk. 

Sure it’s nice that my homeowner’s policy will cover replacing shutters and shingles blown off in a storm, but my reason for buying the insurance is for major events I really never expect to see and I can’t manage out of pocket like fire or tornado.  Fortunately property insurers can’t set up separate pools for those who will experience fires and tornados because the damages from these are immediate and do not carry forward for a lifetime like the illnesses listed below.  Here is a partial list of possible pre-existing conditions in the AHCA that are excluded from the basic plan that may only be covered in separate more costly pools.

My wife, Kathi was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 73.  Like most of those on the list such a diagnosis is a low frequency and high severity event, precisely what insurance was designed for.  Continue reading

When you’re a star they’ll let you do anything

My letter to my representative.

Honorable Senator Grassley,

A life-long Republican, I am asking this on behalf of all your constituents regardless of party affiliation.  We deserve a clear answer.

My niece, Arianne Zucker who plays a lead role on the soap, “Days of Our Lives” greeted Donald Trump when he arrived on the their set in 2005.    Sure I was offended when I heard him say, “When you’re a star they’ll let you do anything …Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”  But we all know he wasn’t talking about my niece per se or just pretty girls or even women in general.  Don’t let this seventh grade locker-room talk overshadow his real message.

“When you’re a star they’ll (everyone will) let you do anything.”

Is he right?  Will you let him do anything?  Will Congress let him do anything? 

Can Senator Grassley be Both Honest and Fair?

I’ve been a lifelong supporter of Senator Charles Grassley not because he is a Republican, but because I know him to be, above all, an honest man.  Champion of the whistle blower, he has been steadfast in encouraging others to come forward with the truth even against the most severe forms of intimidation from employers or peers.   As Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senator Grassley knows that above all, he must be fair and I trust that for the most part he has shown us that this “simple Iowa farmer” can chair this prestigious committee with dignity.

And I have no doubt that Mr. Grassley is loyal to the Republican Party, perhaps to a fault.  From all appearances, Mr. Grassley has agreed to take the heat for a controversial and politically charged decision so his fellow Republicans won’t have to.  Senator Grassley says he will not hold hearings on whomever President Obama nominates to replace Justice Scalia.  It does make sense; Chuck Grassley is the closest thing to a “sure thing” in American politics so he’s not risking his Republican seat in the Senate, while many of his colleagues can’t afford to be seen as blatantly partisan in this election year.  This is in fact a really strange election year where even within their own parties candidates call each other liars and where we might be just gullible enough to believe them all when they say it.  The stakes seem higher than ever and apparently lying is a small price to pay.

But the one constant is “Chuck Grassley will not lie” and I predict he will in the end allow hearings for the Merrick Garland nomination.  I’m not even going to ask him to reverse his decision; I’m just asking him to answer one simple straight forward question.

Would you block these hearings, if any nominee was being put forward by a Republican President, almost a year before the end of his term?

I don’t think he will answer this question, “Yes.”  Known for his straight forward language, I don’t expect him to evade the question.  Certainly he doesn’t want to let his fellow Republicans down, but he will.  You see, I don’t think it’s about his senate seat or his influence in the party and after all, his fellow Republican knew they might have to take the heat from their own decisions when they chose to run.

More than anything else Senator Grassley wants his legacy to be that he was both honest and fair and that he showed the same character as the whistle blowers he championed to come forward with the truth even in the face of intimidation. 

I’d like to add one final thought.  I was wondering if the Democrats really want him to allow the hearings; after all this gives them plenty of political fodder to chew on.  And wouldn’t it be ironic if the best way to negotiate and actually get things done was to call your opponents honest, fair and loyal instead of the nasty rhetoric we’ve grown accustomed to.