Thursday, July 1, 2010

My letter to the people working to resolve the Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak

I have submitted this to the Deepwater Horizon Response team...

take a moment to consider... and be grateful for those people in your life without whom you would be up a creek without a canoe, paddle, or a cooler.

To All The People Working to Resolve the Oil Leak in the Gulf of Mexico,

I am writing to say thank you for all the time you have already put in, for all of the attempts at solutions you have already tried. I want to let you know, as a private citizen and as an engineer, that I understand and honor all that you continue to do.

I know from personal experience how little recognition engineers and technicians receive when they are doing their regular jobs. I know that the only time most people even see us and know that we exist, is when there is a problem (usually one we didn't create)... and when they do, they want to know why we haven't solved their problem yesterday (forgetting that we were told there "wasn't a budget" to solve that yesterday :) ). I personally know what it is like to have a manager urgently breathing down your neck demanding solutions, and knowing darn well that same manager wouldn't be able to solve the problem without you. And I know how hard it is to create a real solution under those conditions.

I know that all of you care about solving this crisis as quickly as possible, and have spent months focused on this endeavor. I want to thank you for the thoughts of work you've had while doing your laundry, and for every World Cup game you didn't see because you were working. Thank you for every fast-food meal you've eaten at your desk, and for every night you tossed and turned in your bed, wishing that this was all just done with already.

What you are doing right now is much more important than any song written by the Beatles, and you deserve to be lauded by every teenager holding your name up on a sign and wearing your face on a t-shirt, and fainting from the sight of you in honor of your beautiful minds. You deserve to be celebrated for the work you do, every single day.

I want to thank you for your mind. For your heart. For your desire to resolve this crisis. I stand in gratitude for the solution that has yet to happen, and am certain that you have it within you to bring it forward.

I wish for you a management who listens to you and who goes to bat for you; an IT support staff who keeps all your computers and printers functioning; and understanding friends and family who cheer for you in a personal way.

Please take good care of yourselves. Take time to let your brain rest. Get a massage. Innovative solutions come from a brain that has a spare moment to access its creative side.

Thank you for al you have done to try to resolve the oil leak, and thank you for the solution that is on its way. I sincerely appreciate you.

Best Regards,
Kathleen P. Hunter, PE

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This post will likely upset someone, maybe even you...

So. It's been a while since I have written.

I am feeling inspired to write. By this:

Now, I am not someone who enjoys getting all worked up for nothing, it vexes the spirit in me. And I find that a lot of "the news" is just that - Inflammatory. So, I approach articles like the one above with suspicion. I cannot tell from this article how much is truth, and how much was strung together by the blogger to make a point that has little to do with reality. Much like most of the news.

but the first thing I did, was to go looking for the bill referenced by the blogger above. Here is "Senate Bill 1069" for Arizona:
It's about driving under the influence (of drugs & alcohol). I went through all the amendments I could find, and see nothing at all about any school programs, at all.

the bill I did find about Arizona school programming was this, House Bill 2281:
which appears to be the bill that has the blogger all riled up.

Only, when I read this bill, I can't tell what everyone is upset about. (Please go read it for yourself before continuing, it's short and to the point and pretty freaking clear to someone not legally trained, and I don't want to include the whole text here.)

What I see in House Bill 2281, is an attempt to prevent the teaching of classes which would "Promote resentment toward a race or class of people." (that's section A.2, but that pretty much sums it up for me)

Umm... where is the problem with that?

Lemme see... they even call out what is allowable (Section E)... teaching of controversial events in history. Grouping of pupils by ability that might result in a classroom having a "disparate impact by ethnicity" (such as in the teaching of english). And, the history of any ethnic group, as long as the teaching of that does not promote resentment, the overthrow of the US government, or are designed for a particular ethnic group, excluding others.

I. Still. Do. Not. See. The. Problem. With. This. Bill.

(if you, out there, read the bill and show me where the problem is, I am listening. Feel free to post feedback.)

What I Do see, are people getting upset by some blogger, who, from where I sit, didn't even get the number of the bill right, and screaming that word... you know the word... RACISM. And... It's in Arizona. Which, in the case of this bill, which the people getting upset probably didn't read, would mean that Whitey is out to get somebody, because Arizona passed that Immigration Bill, that frankly, I haven't read, so I am not going to comment on.

I find it really interesting how ready people are to believe that if a person has their doubts about Obama? They're a RACIST. If they are concerned about the economic feasibility about the healthcare plan? They're a RACIST. If they support Arizona's Immigration Bill? They're a RACIST. If they have any affiliation to The Tea Party? They're a RACIST.

What the fuck??

What year is this??? I ask you, dear readers (all two of you), do you honestly believe this? Why are you so ready to believe that someone is out to get you just because of the color of their skin? Know what that belief, that fear, is??? I give you one guess.

it's RACISM.

The media, and now any blogger, can put forth their ideas, just as I am doing. Can hold a mirror up to the world and ask "Do you see what I see?" OR "Do you see what I Want you to see?"

I am, however, asking you to question what you see. Even the post I give you, and definately the blog I listed at the top of the article.

What I see, is that the only way this bill, in the form I am reading it today, will have any impact on any school district's programming, is if there is (a) someone having a class about white supremacy or some other idiotic class that nobody should have allowed to begin with or (b) some school administrator is a total dumb-ass, and never bothered reading the bill, freaks out, and cancels something that is actually protected by the bill to begin with... which, lets face it, is possible... but is not the fault of the bill as I am reading it this evening, 13 May 2010.

What I know is that I am hearing some seriously varying stories on all things in the tub of immigration, tea parties, healthcare, etc. And people seem pretty freaking riled up about it.

Is throwing the word "Racist" around of service to the United States that you wish existed? Do you believe that the people you know personally your neighbors, friends, facebook friends, relatives who don't have the skin color you have, Racist?

Is there healing and more understanding needed between people of differing skin colors? Yes, I think so.

But believing someone a racist, flat-out? Have you heard their side? Have they listened to yours?

How does that behavior serve that healing?

where are we going, and how can we go higher from here? That's really all I want to know.

(and I just have to say, if the blogger listed above is correct, all foreign language classes will also be cancelled, along with the study of the French Impressionists, and English Romantic Poets. OK I'm done here...)

Friday, October 9, 2009

and in conclusion...

What I'm really here to say, with my overly and overtly simple equation, with my assumptions that don't take a lot into consideration, is that the rhetoric, and the general assumptions about "the other guy" and what s/he's thinking aren't necessarily true.

So please... if you want to make your point to your audience, on facebook, on your blog or where-ever, don't post groups that propose jonathan swift-type responses to people's oppositions.

Just give me the facts, from a reputable source, and let me decide for myself how I feel about it.

Tell me how many uninsured people are, right now, going to the emergency room every time they have a cold.
Tell me how many, and what percentage, and what the cost impacts are, for people who walk out on their bills.
Tell me what happens to the fiscal health of the bill's proposed healthcare system if presently uninsured people do not opt to take advantage of it... and perhaps that's the reason the latest version of the bill says that it will be required for everyone to purchase insurance, or pay a penalty for not doing so.
Tell me what you're going to do about people depending on doctors to fix them, rather than taking personal responsibility.
Tell me how much my healthcare is going to cost me, and what the quality of my care will be, under the new plan. And back it up with numbers.

Because really, all the whining about the opposition to the bill, and how stupid, or partisan, or greedy, or racist "THEY" are, just makes me stay away from you, too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Healthcare Bill, Reform, and all that that implies...

The healthcare debate has been giving me a headache...

Where do I stand? Let me make it clear that I am not in opposition to people having access to affordable health insurance. I think it is a great idea. I am personally grateful that I am in a position where I purchase my health insurance within a plan at a corporation.

What I have been having difficulty accepting is that so far, is the nature and discussion of the reform, the bill, and whether or not it's actually really good for me or for anyone else.

I also have found it difficult to separate rhetoric from truth, and question everything I'm hearing on both sides of the aisle in regard to this bill... And all I really wanted to know is:

(1) How much will this cost me / save me?
(2) How will this impact the quality of available healthcare for me?
(3) What is the overall impact to society in having this bill become "universal health care"?

So, I focused, like my geometry teacher taught me to: work from what I know to what I don't know... so I built a very basic formula in my head.

The current healthcare system has "A" citizens paying into it, at an average rate of "a" per citizen. Now, those who are paying in are assumed to, largely be able to afford it, and are buying typically, at a bulk rate from their company's packaged plan. There are also those paying in via individual rates, and those are notably higher.

The future healthcare system, however it is designed, will have in addition to "A" quantity of citizens, "B" quantity of citizens who previously couldn't afford healthcare, paying in at rate "b". If they could afford healthcare now, they'd be in group "A", so let's assume for the model that they can't. Rate "b" is less than rate "a", because it is assumed to be subsidized by the government.

Outside of both groups "A" and "B" lies any costs for anyone who walks away from costs of healthcare incurred, such as illegal aliens who can't afford, or even get, coverage. As it is, this number will impact the model, no matter how it's drawn, so it is outside the discussion as not having an impact to the cost.

For the sake of this modeling, "A" and "B" and "a" and "b" are all constants

The current system looks like this:
(A * a) / A = a available funds per person for healthcare in group A,
and a very big expense for any incidents to people in group B, but no monthly expense to them at all when they are healthy.

The universal healthcare system looks like this
(A * a) + (B * b) / (A+B) = available funds per person for healthcare in group A+B

What does this mean, and how do the two systems compare?
well, we've already established that b < a ("b" is less than "a" for the liberal arts majors ;) )
but let's just run the numbers a bit...

if the number of people in group B is 10% the number of people in group A (I'm assuming 10% of the citizen population not having health care right now).. B = 0.1*A
and the cost of healthcare for group B is subsidized at an average rate of 30%.. b = 0.7*a
then the equation for universal healthcare looks like this
(A * a) + (0.1A * 0.7a) / (A+0.1A) =
(A*a) + (0.07A*a) / (1.1A) = 0.973a available funds per person...
in other words, where the health care needs for citizens in group A and B are held constant, under the universal healthcare plan, no matter how its designed, as long as someone is subsidizing the care for group B the available funds per paying citizen under the new universal plan is, at best, 97% of what it is now, for a combined group of A and B.

This initial estimate may sound FANTASTIC for group B, and tolerable for group A, and "why are all you Group A people WHINING about paying for my healthcare, lets get rid of all fire departments, roads and schools because clearly you must think it's all socialism, etc etc etc...and why are you being so unreasonable..."

That 97% is at best. If the people in group B have more dependents, their healthcare cost per person goes up. If the people in group B have preexisting conditions requiring care, their cost goes up. If there are more people in group B than my estimate, or their subsidised at an average higher rate... in all of these cases, the available funds per citizen DROPS... which affects the quality of care. (now.. give some thought to what you suspect is the actual demographic of group B ....)

(and if you didn't bother working thru the basic algebra with me... well... tell me again the bit about the public school system being a public good??)

so as I thought more... hmmm... "maybe the health insurance companies are making big money, and if they just cut profits we'd be ok to cover that slack."
Guess what. Health insurance companies AREN'T making big profits. At most, they are making a profit margin of about 4 percent. That's it.

as you can see in this article, the higher profits are for Biotech and Big Pharma (big surprise there...). But I haven't heard much in this debate about Pharma and I've heard nothing on Biotech. Both Pharma and Health Insurance can be discussed in a per-citizen kind of way, because of what they provide... why the f*** are we focused on building another healthcare system to add to the government bureaucracies, when the for-profit businesses aren't making a mad amount of profit anyway? The truth is, for-profit businesses do whatever they can to make that profit, so if they are only making 4%, it isn't a great business to be in to begin with!

What kind of efficiency measures will the government be able to enact that are going to be SO fantastic that they are going to overcome what a business whose purpose it has been to make money, hasn't been able to enact?

I have personally noticed that when a for-profit company does something, that efficiency in the name of those gawdawful profits in general means they do a good job at getting the job done, in comparison to a comparable government agency. Private entities also are clearer about what they want, and don't change their project scopes over and over because it is a waste of money to do that. And government bureaucracies don't go away! By means of example: Robert Moses, enacted tolls on TBTA facilities that were supposed to end when the facility was paid for. In the 1940s and 50s. But instead, they just kept right on collecting, and funding, works of Moses' personal empire building, and it took a lot to stop him (but nobody ever stopped the money...). I have more recent onces, but I unfortunately feel compelled to remain closed lipped about them. But look around yourself for them... How did Fannie Mae do with mortgages? How did the SEC do handling Bernie Madoff?

Now you may say that the people who got Madoffed "got what they deserved (those greedy bastards)" but just think... You're an investor. you have made some money and you want to save up more so you can go on a cruise when you get older and enjoy the fruits of your labor. The American Dream. You are expecting that your money and investment is protected by laws and rules that have been enacted in the united states where you live, you understand that investments go up and down, and some guy is showing great profits. Great! Sign me up! He's a genius (until he's not)!

Plus there's a little thing called Sovereign Immunity. "In the United States, the federal government has sovereign immunity and may not be sued unless it has waived its immunity or consented to suit."
which means... unless there's a really good reason for it... have fun trying to sue the new "public option" part of the healthcare system!

And why, may I ask, if we are truly interested in "the good of the people", are we NOT focused on the sacred and profitable cow of the Pharmaceutical Industry?
Who's lobbyists do you think are better? The Health Insurance Industry, who we'll be ripping apart if this new bill goes through, putting people out of work because those meager 4% are going to DROP, or the Pharmaceutical Industry, who's making more profit, and we're not focused on them in this debate?

How about reducing the healthcare expenditures of people so the available money goes much further?
What about teaching and funding PREVENTATIVE CARE?
Are gym memberships, acupuncture, massage, all going to be covered in the universal care system? Why do I doubt it? You've got some yahoo republican senator suggesting maternity care not be insured (because he doesn't need it so he doesn't want to pay for it)!

Nope... to renovate this system.. to provide healthcare coverage for people who would like to have it... we're going after the little guy. We're going after the companies who are actually doing something by insuring for our years of self-abuse and stress, and all those free radicals causing degenerative diseases, that one day we're going to need it and get our moneys back.

I can think of a lot more things we could be doing with this system renovation. But who the heck am I? Just an infrequent blogger out in cyberspace, who has learned that you can't tell anybody anything. That people will believe what they want, and if you answer questions before they ask them, they REALLY won't listen. And if you ask the questions instead of giving them the answers... they get pissy and defensive, and declare you're clearly for "the other guy".

So, I'm going to focus on creating my reality the way I see fit. To continue to improve my life and hope that all I'll need is emergency care, eye care and dental care. I've said my piece, I've resolved my own headache with the healthcare bill, and, although I'd love it if all-y'all could afford healthcare... I acknowledge I have no power or authority to do anything about it. It is clearly outside my area of influence. And, people will believe whatever they want to believe, and go back to their existing neural pathways and repeated thoughts until they themselves choose to change. just like me.

And... any prior blog readers know I'm a proponent and believer in the Law of Attraction. What does this have to do with that? Lots. We each create our own reality. And, by taking care of ourselves First, we get an increasingly cleaner understanding of what we truly require, and we give from our abundance. I know, because it is happening with me personally. I find I'm not interested in accumulating a lot of "stuff", and I'd rather have nicer things, and fewer things around me, than being totally acquisitive. In short, focusing on my own pleasure has caused me, very naturally to live in a more sustainable, healthy, generous way. I'm still very much on this path, and have much to learn, but I can totally tell it is for the best that I am going this way. And anytime someone tries to force my hand, and make me do something out of obligation or guilt, it feels terrible to me, and I've learned to say no to it. I know that my choices are my own. Openly and in freedom. What I give comes from my abundance, not from my perceived need or someone elses need (let's face it... ever have a member of the opposite sex come up to you, and you can "smell" desparation all over them? How good does that feel to receive?)

So really... don't suggest that I should HAVE to subsidize this ineffective solution because people NEEEEED it. What they need is something that will actually work. Prevention. Jobs that serve the individual's life path. Moms who don't wear designer clothes, gold jewelry, and designer bags, and pay their grocery bills with foodstamps.

So, can we get off the bandwagon of believing the "other guy" is "evil" or "stupid" or "racist" or "" and talk about something MORE fun and pleasurable? It's WAY better for our health!!!

and... here are my last few thoughts on the subject...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The continuing Saga of S-Factor

Hi All,

Please feel free to go see this article:

And, for entertainment, and a mirror into the emotional bias something like S-Factor brings up, take a look at what a San Francisco audience has to say! WOW, a lot of people have issues with something they know nothing about (but think they do!)

of course I had to open my mouth and say something.

And really... the cranky people can stay right where they are... Apparently they ENJOY BEING CRANKY... (and I don't...)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"you can be right or you can be happy"

aaahhh, there's the rub.

I'm holding up a mirror to myself today. I'm asking the question "why?" and finding answers in the oddest places. The New York Times, of all places. An extension of the "nobody listens until they're ready" discussion.

that all of the fluff and thoughts on "why things happen" and my thoughts on gender and societal bias is pretty much going to stop, on this blog and in general... It doesn't really matter if I bring these discussions up or not, and, even though I've long since stopped being upset about most of it, there's still judgement and opinion threaded through that may not be taken terribly well by the reader...

and really, I can drop all of this. I don't need to be an activist in this way, the fever has run its course...

...the best thing I can do is live a life that is good, joyful, and happy, and handle what is in front of me, not in front of everyone else. ... Living within the context of my life, as it is, and letting go of the fight... I just don't have the energy to take this on anymore!

Each person is responsible for their own life, and, releasing all of this energy back to each person to make their own choices without my opinion is the best thing I can do... For me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

acupuncture, yin, yang, and my fluxing nature...

I've been receiving acupuncture lately, and am being presently treated for "excess fire in the stomach"... anyone who knows me should not be surprised by this... I'm also on an herbal supplement to bring this excess heat out of my system, and I'm finding that other things have gone with it...

... like my relentless pursuit of actively going after what I believe I want... which, actually, is a good thing.

I've given in on, given up on, something completely, something that I feel would be fantastic for me, that I believe would be good. Something that requires the cooperation, input, effort, collaboration, and leadership of another person. Something I think would be fun to try out, even if it's just for a test drive.

But there are some tricky things in human nature, like another person's choice, that, even when offered Belgian chocolate for free, some people will smell it like you're trying to poison them. Some simply do prefer something else (someone else will have to fill in the blank here... I got nothin). Some others will question why this thing would be valuable at all. Some will only do it if they discovered it themselves. Some will yell at you for offering them something that might cost them something, like their own Hershey status quo security blanket. Some will send you email articles about the terrible conspiracy of Belgian Chocolate makers with the Bilderbergers to ensure Hershey remains lower quality and waxy (I made that up. The conspiracy, clearly, would be with the Swiss chocolate makers. :) ).

In short, my own judgement about, well, anything, is prettymuch not worth much to other people, unless they actually wanted to listen to what I have to say/feel/think to begin with.

The only thing I, or honestly anyone else, can really do, is to follow my own desires, my own bliss, my own judgement... and, at some point, in the unforseen future, when I'm lucky on things, naysayers come back around.... and act like they discovered Belgian Chocolate all by themselves. Which, really, to them, they have, because ya know, the last time that stuff was totally poisonous.

What I've grown to understand is that no matter what I do, other people will follow their own path. And unfortunately, I can't change their minds or hearts.

And so, in the nature of human desire to share, my peers are limited. Peers with whom I'd gladly share a bowl of M&Ms and discuss the mysteries of the belgian chocolate conspiracy, just for the sheer pleasure of their company, if they'd only try the belgian once in a while and not assume I was in on the conspiracy. Instead, i'm having to choose from among the belgian, french, and swiss chocolate fans, and they're somewhat further apart and fewer in number... and trying to figure out who's less closed-minded.

But I once read a book that said once you learn how to properly play tennis, you can't simply go out and hit the ball anywhichway. There is a more effective way to hit a tennis ball, and that does mean your options on how to hold the racket and hit the ball are fewer than for those with less training.

But when we're not talking about tennis or chocolate, its often very hard to tell which person has had more training. Very hard.

But, right now, what I'm getting is that none of this really matters... If there's no game there's no game... and the best I can do is follow my desire to play, and find more suitable friends to play with.