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Comment: Re:White House funding? (Score 1) 262

by Straif (#48509055) Attached to: Obama Offers Funding For 50,000 Police Body Cameras

I don't know the specific in this case because of course I didn't RTFA, but while Congress must pass legislation to allow for new spending (which is how the Republicans are proposing to stop the immigration EO) there is usually a wide degree of latitude given to the Administration on how to spend existing department budgets. A proposal like this might just come out of 'petty cash' of the DOJ or some other Federal agency which, if the case, is a sad comment as to how bloated some of these agencies are.

Comment: Re:I just don't understand (Score 1) 1128

by Straif (#48460429) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

I think you're the one with a TV problem. The purpose of a trial is to attempt to convict someone of a criminal act where there is a strong enough case that the prosecutor believes there is a reasonable chance of conviction; it is not a fishing expedition. The facts and evidence are supposed to be examined prior to the trial (except those not previously available) and used to determine the likelihood that a crime was even committed and that a conviction can be attained.

Grand juries are special pre-trials in which only the prosecutor present the evidence and their views on how it relates to the case. This is the most favorable circumstance possible for the prosecution, and if they can't convince a majority of the jury that a crime has taken place and the defendant is possibly guilty of it then there is almost no chance at a real trial where the judge will often disallow a significant portion of the evidence.

Filing unfounded charges and bringing someone to trial just to fulfill your voyeuristic needs is not a proper use of the legal system.

Comment: Re:wont last (Score 1) 287

by Straif (#48435721) Attached to: Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

I can't say I've ever seen someone complain about price matching before. What exactly prevents a store from competing on price, even with Walmart's price matching policy in place?

There is no law stating you have to shop at Walmart and if a store routinely has lower prices than them most people will go there rather dealing with the hassle of having to have every item price matched? For Walmart, if they are seeing a competing store routinely undercutting their prices they will adjust to compete. That's a rare occurrence, since Walmart has the purchasing muscle to throw around, but it can happen.

Price matching is generally only used on sale items or one or two regular purchases and generally as a convenience so that you don't have to go to another store to continue your shopping. Of course Walmart and other price matching stores hope you don't find the lower price somewhere else but how exactly does the fact that if you do they will match it impact pricing as a whole?

Comment: Re:wont last (Score 1) 287

by Straif (#48435559) Attached to: Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

There are so many problems with your idea that I have to assume you've never actually shopped anywhere, ever.

Who determines the "minimum profit" in your proposal? I'm assuming the Government has to set all industry profit rates to prevent price variances.
In your world are all suppliers prices fixed? Can they never drop prices to clear inventory? Can they never reduce production costs to be able to lower wholesale pricing?
Are loss-leaders outlawed?
The questions and problems with your simplistic view, are endless.

There are literally hundreds of ways one store can acquire inventory cheaper than another. Sometimes it's a pure numbers game (Walmart's specialty), other times it just a timing issue (end of life cycle dumping by supplier) and sometimes you may just be able to get in on a one time sale (another store/supplier closing and selling off stock).

Comment: Re:The workplace is changing. (Score 1) 496

by Straif (#48429185) Attached to: As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

While the 4-5 number may be a bit of a reach the GPs points are still correct.

There are several factors which contribute to female vets being paid less than their male counterparts. According to a 2013 AVMA Report female vets:
1) do in fact work fewer hours than male vets (about 2-5 hours/week on average)
2) spend more time/case which results in fewer cases worked (and billed)/day
3) have significantly less focus on owning their own practice
4) place less importance on monetary rewards
5) take more time off for family related issues

I couldn't find any good rates for cases/hour, but if you take reduced hours worked and fewer cases/hour factors together, it wouldn't be outside of the realm of possibility that it may require 2-3 female vets to do the same work as one male vet (even if the female vets aren't being fully utilized).
Say for example a male vet spends 20mins/case while a female vet spends 30. The man works 45 hours while the woman works 42. The man can process 135 cases/week while the woman only 84. If your practice handles 120 cases/week on average you can hire either 1 male vet or 2 female vets. Knowing this to be the case you'd be willing to offer the 1 male vet more money than the individual female vets because overall you'd still be saving money.

Simply put, more female vets become vets for non-monetary reasons than do males and the salaries they make reflect that.

Comment: Re:You shouldn't need insurance for most things (Score 1) 739

by Straif (#48302609) Attached to: Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

The New England Journal of Medicine did a study of 599 articles and 1500 ratios between 2000 and 2005 and there conclusion was "Although some preventive measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not.". There have also been more recent studies that comes to similar conclusions.

As for your doctors advice, of course on a personal level it's generally cheaper to catch things early but that assumes you are actually going to develop something. For those that never do, or for those cases where advanced warning is of little benefit, cost-wise, those thousands of dollars of tests are effectively wasted money. The math is simple, [(cost of testing) x number in target population] - [(cost of treatment) x number of affected]

For prostate cancer, for example, it's been estimated only 1 in 1000 affected men will be saved by preventative screening. For the other 999, as well as those who never get prostate cancer, the early screening was essentially needless costs. Because of it's rate of growth, in most cases knowing early before symptoms arise, won't affect outcomes or treatments. Of course for that one man the preventative screening is a lifesaver, but on purely economic front, it's not cost-effective.

Comment: Re:You shouldn't need insurance for most things (Score 1) 739

by Straif (#48281179) Attached to: Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

There are several studies that show preventative healthcare does NOT in fact save money. It can be either cost neutral or in many cases cost more. Where savings are show it's usually a fraction of a percent.

The simple reason is that in order to discover 1 positive case of a serious illness you tend to have to test thousands of false cases. The cost of testing then far outweighs the savings in treatment. For that one positive, early detection can make the difference between life and death, but using a pure cost/benefit analysis the overall drain on the system (both financially and in person-hours) is not worth it.

Some preventative measures such as immunizations however, have almost no negative economic effects. Due to the large scales of production and distributions, as well as next to no need for a doctors involvement, these programs are very cost effective.

Comment: Re:Cue party of hypocrites supporters (Score 1) 256

by Straif (#48214105) Attached to: Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

Online sales favor small manufactures with limited choices but in most cases dealerships help offload a lot of manufacturers cost and reduce their risk. In either case the government shouldn't be the deciding factor in determining which option your company chooses and it should never have been involved in the first place. These laws were originally meant to protect dealers from having to directly compete with manufactures who might decide to muscle them out of a profitable area by opening up a competing lot. That's all well and good but should never have been put into law, that's a contract condition, not a legal one.

Dealers add to the system by paying for the physical storefronts, paying franchise fees and a lot of local promotional costs. In return they get to profit off of the few buyers who can't haggle in the slightest but generally make real profits on the service side. It's worth it to sell a $30,000 car for just a $500 profit if you can get a person to come back to you for $60 oil changes once or twice a year, plus $500 in new tires every couple years, plus whatever other maintenance charges they can come up with.

At present, it makes sense for most manufacturers to use dealerships (or at least some sort of parking lot style sales system). Just the vast array of options available means a person is more likely to need to see the physical vehicle before making a purchasing decision. Chevy, for example, has 19 vehicles currently available for sale and each of those has several models with a vast array of trim and performance levels. Tesla, by comparison, has 2 and while they offer some variances in trim, you're still getting essentially the same car no matter what you choose. For Tesla having a dealership full of 50-100 identical cars is just a waste of money. If you want a Tesla you want a Tesla and having one available for viewing in a small mall storefront would generally suffice. You should then be able to then go online and customize you trim level and order away without any government interference but the guy buying the Chevy is still most likely want to see all his options in the flesh.

Comment: Re: Politics (Score 1) 384

by Straif (#48204083) Attached to: Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

The President usually submits a budget to Congress (this is an outline of his priorities), the Senate and House both propose their own budgets (they can use the President's proposals as a base or not) and vote independently of each other. Finally the House and Senate budgets are reconciled to create a final federal budget.

In the last 6 years:
- Obama's budget's have failed every time they were brought to the senate floor for a vote, usually without getting a single 'yea'.
- The Senate, under Harry Reid has only passed 1 budget even though budget require a simple majority to pass.
- The House has passed a budget almost every year (but since this written by Republican's has little chance of passing in the Senate in it unaltered form)

Because of the failure of the 3 interested parties to get along the US federal budget has been essentially run by a series of Continuing resolutions since Obama took office.

The good side of this is that this might lead to an end of omnibus budgets and return to the days of more compartmentalized process. It harder to hide money when you pass budgets in smaller chunks as opposed to one large all encompassing bill with everyone's pork added on top.

Comment: Re:Politics (Score 1) 384

by Straif (#48203899) Attached to: Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

When has POTUS ever truly tried to work with congress. He gives speeches saying his is willing to work with congress, hits the late nite circuit to talk about how he's trying, but even members of his own party say he rarely talks to anyone in the House or Senate and rarely puts anything concrete down on paper.

Saying you want to feed all the hungry children is easy to do in a speech but it's in the number crunching to make it a reality where the hard work gets done and even fellow Dems say he's not big on the actual details of implementing his grand ideas. Then when things don't get done because he provides absolutely no guidance in how to achieve his goals and won't even work with his own parties representatives he starts a second round of public appearances to pass the buck.

Several times he's even been criticized by Democrat Senators and Congressmen for sabotaging his own proposals and putting his own party members into corners by moving the goalposts last minute beyond what they had already worked out with opposition members.

Comment: Re:Politics (Score 1) 384

by Straif (#48203753) Attached to: Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

The suits previously recommended (at the time of the Texas incident) as part of the CDC protocols did not even cover all exposed skin. They weren't the suits you see in movies used in research facilities, they were little more than glorified aprons and face shields (actually they only recommended goggles and face masks). It was quite easy to be fully and properly dressed according to CDC protocols and still be exposed. The nurses even complained about exposed skin on the head and neck and were told to just use some tape to cover the neck area a bit better.

Outside of the equipment guidelines the procedural guidelines were also extremely lacking.

The new guidelines are closer to what you see in movies and TV but none of those were in place when the Texas hospital was asking the CDC how they should proceed. So according to the old CDC guidelines it was very possible for nurses following all procedures to the letter and still get exposed, hence the revamped protocols.

Comment: Re:Proof (Score 1) 421

by Straif (#47984991) Attached to: Users Report Warping of Apple's iPhone 6 Plus

There are several pictures of bent iphones just there for the Googling.

The reason the same video is used is because it's very hard to find someone who isn't running a tech blog/Youtube channel to bend there $800 brand new phone on purpose and it's mostly pointless to make a video of a bent phone after the bend is discovered, hence the need to Google for photos.

Comment: Re:Nope they are clever (Score 1) 336

by Straif (#47937113) Attached to: Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

I use NFC whenever possible but I have found a small oversight with some of those NFC enabled interac machines. It seems in most restaurants I've tried them in they are set the same as McDonald's terminals, in that they just accept your payment but never prompt you to enter a tip. If you insert your card instead, you'll receive the tip prompt but tapping just pays. I'm assuming it's just a simple config setting but makes me a bit hesitant to use at a real sit down restaurant unless I happen to have some cash in my pocket.

I've only seen one that actually prompted for the tip first before allowing you to tap to pay.

Comment: Re:so (Score 1) 150

by Straif (#47835143) Attached to: Hackers Break Into

Only 2 problems with your claims,

1) The VA has received one of the largest increases in funding of all government departments and it's been a bipartisan effort to increase available funds for a while now. Their 2003 budget was $50 billion; the 2015 budget is $170 billion and that increase was not all at once but continually over those 12 years.

2) In that same time period patient case loads have only increased about 30% and the majority of those cases are not vets from Iraq and Afghanistan but older vets.

Comment: Re:FDA? (Score 1) 390

by Straif (#47607005) Attached to: "Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

Pharmaceutical companies, on average, make between 15-20% profit margins. Still high but not quite the 30% people keep claiming on here. They tend to have burst profits that carry forward for a few quarters and then slow down until a new wonder drug is brought to market.

Over the past 5 years some have had quarterly profits as high as 65% (Merck last quarter of 2009) but they also have negative quarters like -4.4 (Merck in last quarter of 2010 of -19 for Bristol-Myers Squibb in 3 quarter of 2012) but overall it's still a very profitable business.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein