Paul Ryan is only Partly Right – a Small Part

Entitlements Tag Crowd
A word cloud generated from the text of the articles I referenced here

At the end of last year, our government gave away $2 trillion in federal revenue over the next 10 years, most of it going to the rich and corporations, especially the real estate industry thanks to last minute tweaking of the bill.

NOW congressional leadership is worried about debt and deficit. Paul Ryan said, “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.”

He went on to say, “… it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, … that’s really where the problem lies.”

Our Speaker of the House is talking about Medicare and Medicaid and I think he gets it partly right. I base that on a recent article (http://53eig.ht/2DkPugh) from my favorite data journalists at FiveThirtyEight, whose news comes from the numbers instead of manipulative rhetoric.

He’s partly right in that aging and income are only partly responsible for rising health care costs – and that’s a small part. According to a recent study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, health care spending increased by $933.5 billion from 1996 to 2013. However only…

$133.3 billion came from increased population,
$269.5 billion from an aging population,

Disease prevalence and incidence resulted in a 2.4% reduction in spending while service utilization had no statistically significant effect at all.

The lion’s share came from price and intensity of service, accounting for $583.5 billion of health care spending. That’s pricing for prescription drugs and hospital mergers that reduce competition, among other factors.

The problem is not who’s getting the health care or who’s paying for it. The problem is a health care industry that seems free to bilk the American economy at a rate of 17.1% of our GDP. That’s a higher portion than any other country, except the Marshall Islands, who’s portion has shrunk from 30.8% (1995) to 17.1% (2014).

They need to address the health care industry, not who’s entitled to it.

Sources: https://goo.gl/QB1MYU, https://goo.gl/ZJpjQD, https://goo.gl/muTfJM,https://goo.gl/bsxp1Y, and https://goo.gl/yjrr4k

Will We Spend on Hate?

The newly elected Chairman of the Democratic National Committee made headlines Sunday by saying to a gathering in New Jersey that Republicans “don’t give a s**t about people.”

Political discorse in American is not designed to convince people to buy your plan.  It’s designed to make you hate the people who haven’t bought it.  And it works.  People are not so motivated to go to the polls for an ideal that they think should be happening anyway.  They will, however, proudly march there in self-defense.  Perhaps we can’t do any better.

But what lights the gasoline is when we start diverting money for the sake of hate mongering.  Also in the news on Sunday was reporting on Trumps submission to negotiations over efforts to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of next month.  He proposes cutting $1.2 billion from the National Institutes of Health research grants, $1.5 billion from community development block grants and $500 million from transportation project grants.  He’s leaving, however, the $3 billion he asked for previously to start his wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Considering our everyday lives, divorced from the manipulative rhetoric we watch on TV, what should we care about more, cancer research and safe bridges, or immigrants and refugees, looking for a better life – and who are statistically less of a threat to us than people born here.

Sources: http://thehill.com/node/326876, https://goo.gl/CvlMGi, https://goo.gl/G5JpIz

Why Tolerance?

The Kadam family leaves India for France where they open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory's Michelin-starred eatery.

My wife and I watched and enjoyed The Hundred-Foot Journey the other night.  If you have not seen it, you should.  If nothing else, Helen Mirren’s portrayal of a posh restaurant madam is an interesting contrast to that of a conscienceless hired killer in RED.

I posted a comment about the movie in Facebook, earning a healthy number of likes and an even more impressive number of comments.  Many of the statements suggested that watching the film would be a good way to teach tolerance – and I agree.

But, as I’ve thought about this and the movie, I think that it’s not tolerance that is being illustrated by the characters, nearly as much as it is finding the human value of each other.

If we were in the habit of looking for the human value of each other, instead of taking offense to the perceived differences, then tolerance becomes passé.

It seems to me that teaching the value of people as the objective would be easier than teaching tolerance.

N’es pas?

Why You Won’t See Me at ISTE ’14

San Antonio was great last year, especially EduBloggerCon (now called something else) and the photo walk with my very good Apple Distinguished Educator-friends. It was also wonderful reconnecting with far flung colleagues, even if I couldn’t instantly call up many of their names. It’s one of my many cognitive difficulties.

But dispite my original and enthusiastic intentions, I won’t be visiting Atlanta this year for ISTE’14. I know that there have been speculations about my health. But at this point, aside from a persistently high triglyceride count, I am perfectly healthy, still walking between 2 and 5 miles a day. In many ways, I’ve never felt better. The pressure is off. I’ve let go of the three gigs a week expectation and spend my office time, working on projects that interest me. Lately it’s been converting out-of-print books about local and family history to Kindle-ready formats for my Dad, who needs 144 point font for reading. I’ve also been updating Class Blogmeister code and ramping the service up with some JQuery magic. And I’m still doing some speaking, Kuwait early next month. So don’t stop calling.  I’m just taking the pressure cap off and

..finding a new intersection between play, passion and purpose.

Nope it’s not health that’s changed my mind about ISTE this year. I actually submitted proposals to present, including “Bookbag 2024,” which I had so much fun doing at NCTIES this winter. In a sense, It would have been a swan song presentation, “Heres what education looks like ten years from now, if we continue to do our jobs well and resist the corporate-ization of public education.”

Alas, that proposal was rejected. To be fair, the second proposal was accepted, but not as the spotlight sessions I’ve done for the past decade or so.  That proposal was for an entertaining, interactive, but research-based session about the pedagogies of video games. It was a good proposal, and I suspect that some reader had checkboxes of proposal characteristics and trending topics – and that write-up pushed a lot of buttons, while some role-playing old codger telling stories and speculating about the future didn’t.

I won’t lie and say that I don’t taste sour grapes.  But I take nothing from ISTE.  In fact my wife and I have been trying to figure out some way to start a scholarship to send one or more North Carolina educators to ISTE each year.

I blame and accept the fact that experience that spans from TRS-80 to IOS has become a little less important compared to the creative energy of much younger educators – a fact that I was reminded of earlier this morning as I read a number of  thoughtful and otherwise kick-ass blog posts in my FlipBoard, most of them authored by educators who could have been the children of the students I taught nearly 40 years ago.

This is by no means the end of my public speaking, blogging, tweeting and what ever comes next.  Many of you will see me again, as I walk the stage trying to infect you with shakabuku.

But not at ISTE ’14.

Amazing Facts about the Human Body

Anyone who has studied anatomy and physiology at all would agree that the human body is amazing. It is a machine that keeps us moving and creating, and recreates itself to keep itself healthy. It has defense mechanisms and the ability to reproduce, all while nourishing itself by using our environment. We could survive equally […]

18-amazing-facts-about-the-human-body_5239be637e7aaAnyone who has studied anatomy and physiology at all would agree that the human body is amazing. It is a machine that keeps us moving and creating, and recreates itself to keep itself healthy. It has defense mechanisms and the ability to reproduce, all while nourishing itself by using our environment. We could survive equally by breathing the air in the mountains and in the city (although many feel better in one or the other), and nutrition can be gained and processed by eating nearly anything. But there are some things beyond basic anatomy and physiology that will also blow your mind.

This infographic goes into everything from rejuvenation to strength. For instance, a femur is about four times stronger than concrete! If you know anyone who broke their femur, ask how, and you will learn how to break up concrete.

But how are each of these facts useful? Why do our bones have to be so strong? Why do our stomach contents have to be so acidic? Knowing these things is very fun, but knowing why is more fascinating.

Blog: http://visual.ly/18-amazing-facts-about-human-body

The Decline of a Great State

In early 2012, Public Policy Polling ran a national survey to determine the favorability of each state in the union. Not surprisingly, Hawaii was number one with 54% of those polled giving it a favorable rating and only 10% an unfavorable. Southern states, North Carolina and south, generally did not fair well in popularity. Exceptions were my state (NC) and Tennessee, both landing among the top ten. All others, except for Florida, were in the bottom half, four of them in the bottom 10.

Later that year a new government took control in North Carolina, Republicans winning 65% of the seats in the General Assembly based on only 52% of the citizens’ votes (see the Best State that Money can Buy).  Since then, this arrogantly conservative body has?

  • Denied access to federal emergency unemployment benefits
  • Blocked access to federal Affordable Care Act health care benefits
  • Increased taxes for low-wage workers
  • Lowered taxes for millionaires
  • Did away with 5,200 teacher positions and 4,580 teacher assistants
  • Canceled salary incentive for educators to become more educated
  • Are giving away $10 million in public funds to private schools
  • Closed 15 of the state’s 16 abortion clinics
  • Suppressed voting rights
  • Enacted policies policies that make millionaires more important to candidates and voters less

And the word is out thanks to the New York Times (here and here) and even the Colbert Report, here (starting at 4:10).

On September 5, PPP reported a re-assessment of the states’ favorability and wrote,

North Carolina’s national image has seen a strong shift in a negative direction since that time. Its favorability has dropped from 40% to 30%, while the share of voters with an unfavorable opinion of it has more than doubled from 11% to 23%. Its +7 favorability rating would have ranked it 40th in our national study of state popularity in 2011, rather than its top 10 popularity at that time.

 I fail to see how this points to improved economy, more good jobs, safer and healthier citizens, more tourists or new businesses.

 

Vegan vs. Meat-eater

A health craze has seemed to take over this country, finally. With obesity at epidemic levels, and America being the least healthy developed country, it is about time we begin trying to take better care of ourselves. Meat is a staple in the diets of many Americans, and their social lives. The all American past […]

A health craze has seemed to take over this country, finally. With obesity at epidemic levels, and America being the least healthy developed country, it is about time we begin trying to take better care of ourselves. Meat is a staple in the diets of many Americans, and their social lives. The all American past time is centered around hot dogs. Most summer holidays involve a cook out. And there is an national debate as to what the best hot dog, hamburger, or barbecue is. Could this be the cause of our ill health?

According to this infographic, there are other ways to get the protein and Vitamin D necessary to sustain ourselves. Meat eaters also, on average, have higher cholesterol, and is a major cause of cancer. Raising the animals we use for meat also takes a lot of grain and water.

Have your students do research into various diet plans and try to create a meal plan for one day that follows this diet. This diet must give a person everything necessary to live, in a healthy way, with no excess. Have you students compare their diets with those they find.

Blog: http://visual.ly/vegan-vs-meat-eater?_from=homepage

Conference Gear – ISTE Photo Walk

From the archive of last year's Photo Safari
This blog post is going to be in two installments.  This first one is my opportunity to share my gear, but also to promote ISTE’s 5th annual Photo Walk / Photo Safari.  Organized by Apple Destinguished Educators (IDEs), the gathering and 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Sunday.  I attended last year’s more extended walk in San Diego, and from that, I’d recommend a health application of sunblock.  Here are photos taken during that walk.

This year, I’ll be taking the following gear as of now.  Main tool will be a Nikon D5100 (more camera than I deserve) with 24-120 and 55-300MM Nikon lenses.  You also see a remote for taking those sensitive low-light shots where camera movement is death to the end product.  It also comes in handy for HDRs, which abuse, admittedly.

David Warlick's Gear Gathering for the ISTE13 ADE Photo Safari in San Antonio on June 23 2013
My gear for the Photo Walk. A tripod for the big camera is still under consideration.
 There are also an unglamorous assortment of filters, and a variety of methods for getting photos from camera to computer (or iPad).  You can also see two embarrassingly low capacity and slow memory cards.  

For my iPhone 4 (older iPhone 3GS standing in), I’ll have a miniature tripod, mostly because I can.  There is also an alternative and easier to attach tripod mount and an ōlloclip, which is a very cool lens set for iPhonography.  Most of the umpgh in my iPhone is in the apps, my favorite of which are Snapseed, TiltShift, Pro HDR, AutoStitch and ToonCamera.

Go here to register for the ADE ISTE Photo Safari 2013.

What 2000 Calories looks like.

These types of demonstrations are always interesting to me. The most interesting part being the comparison of healthy and unhealthy foods in terms of amount of calories. For instance I was very pleased to see that a Cinnabon has the same amount of calories as a Cobb salad. I’m sure they’re just as equal in […]

What 2000 Calories looks like.

These types of demonstrations are always interesting to me. The most interesting part being the comparison of healthy and unhealthy foods in terms of amount of calories.

For instance I was very pleased to see that a Cinnabon has the same amount of calories as a Cobb salad. I’m sure they’re just as equal in every other nutritional category as well. ;)

Money 101 for Parents and Teens

Many millionares and billionares got their start as teenagers by investing right, and starting the right business at the right time. All teens get money in some way, whether it is through an allowance, gifts, jobs, or a combination of the above. But it is important to begin good habits at an early age. It […]

Many millionares and billionares got their start as teenagers by investing right, and starting the right business at the right time. All teens get money in some way, whether it is through an allowance, gifts, jobs, or a combination of the above. But it is important to begin good habits at an early age. It is important to begin saving early, but continue spending, but doing so healthy.

This infographic shares income and spending habits of teenagers. It is a great comparison of various methods of income and spending habits of teenagers. Use this infographic and ask your students to write down how they compare. Ask you students to think about how their current spending habits and savings plans will help them or hurt them in the future.

It is important for everyone to continue spending money, but use this as an opportunity to share with your students healthy spending and saving habits. Also, share with them how to use a credit card wisely to help their credit. Encourage your students to continue their hard work in order to to a healthy financial future, as well as to encourage the economy, and most importantly, have a fun and comfortable life.

Blog: http://goo.gl/RrzXc