Tuesday, September 1, 2020

PBS Newshour's William Brangham Starts Series on Healthcare

On the PBS Newshour last night (8/31/2020) William Brangham started a series of reports on healthcare in the USA and what we can learn from healthcare in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Australia.

In the first report he gave the impression that only the USA has a Life expectancy income gradient but in fact the health-income gradient exists in every country I've read about, in fact the life expectancy income gradient is slightly steeper in Canada than it is in the U.S. After all one reason a person cannot earn much income is poor health.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Are the News Media Trying to Compete with Comedians?

I ain't just fox news that is a reality TV show.

A black woman "journalist", Dorothy Tucker on, on the PBS NewsHour said:

But, on the other side of the brain, I'm thinking of my 28-year-old son, who was traveling from Atlanta to Chicago driving, and praying the entire time that he arrives home safely, that he doesn't get stopped by a police officer, that something doesn't happen to him when he stops at a rest stop.

And Judy Woodruff, doing the interview, did not push back at all. Maybe Woodruff didn't want to be mean but Dorothy Tucker is supposed to be a journalist. John McWhorter seems to believe people like Dorothy Tucker are lying, I'm not so sure but as a journalist you shouldn't be either lying or so far off in knowing the relavent statistics.

As Glenn Loury quipped, and I paraphrase, she better not let her son go outside he might get struck by lightning.

The PBS NewsHour is Government funded reality TV show.

We live in hilarious times. We don't even need comedians.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Diane Ravitch on Schooling

Econ talk had an interesting discussion on charter schools here.
My response.
I used to believe that vouchers could improve test scores but the data came in and it seems like Diane Ravitch is correct that vouchers and charter schools do not raise test scores. I do though think it's possible that tutoring or direct instruction could improve test scores but for the most part I think it is an intractable problem. We should admit that
But I disagree with Diane Ravitch on:
  1. It is NOT true that 1 in 5 US children LIVE is poverty.  1 in 5 US children live in families whose market income before taxes and transfers is below the federal poverty level. NIMBY is a problem in some places though.
  2. A Rational Argument Could Made that the USA has Best Education in the World and Florida has the Best Education in the USA
  3. What we in the developed world call poverty is almost irrelevant to how well children do in school. It looks like it is relevant because parents' ability in school correlates with income but the children of very low income parents who did well in school do fine. For example, the children of poor grad students do great at school, as do the children of very low income Hasidic Jews. Taking a vow of poverty will not make your children do bad in school.
So IMO we should:
  1. Since we seem unable to teach children more, put more effort into finding out what are the most valuable things we should teach and teach more of that and less of other things.
  2. Cut the overhead to save money and let principles and teachers run the schools.
  3. Force more direct instruction on the schools and teachers
  4. Experiment with older student and volunteers tutoring younger students and teach doing more tutoring.
Realize that a school system the spends less for the same results is doing better.
Realize that there are only an insignificant number of bad schools in the developed countries (that does not mean they can't still get better). What we call bad schools are schools that have bad average students.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Italian Spinach Pies Updated

In Providence RI, Italian bakeries sell spinach pies. Similar to a spinach calzone. Delicious try this recipe:

Here is a video of a another not as good recipe.
 
Dough
  • 400 grams water
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon yeast (the longer you are willing let it rise the less yeast you can use. Less yeast and longer rise time yields better texture, bigger holes)
  • 10 grams salt
  • 620 cups bread flour
Here is a link to my older recipe with a different dough recipe.

Filling:
  • 1 lb spinach fresh or frozen - NEVER EVER canned!
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup canned slice black olives
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • garlic salt
Dough:
In a mixer add water then yeast then flour the salt. Mix with dough hook.
Allow to rest for a 15 minutes and stretch and fold refrigerate over night for best results or let rise until doubled.  Then stretch and fold again. form into about 4 balls and let then reach room temperature.
  
Filling:
If you are using frozen spinach thaw and drain well. If you are using fresh spinach just clean and dry and use it as is, alternatively you can sauté slightly to make it easier to work with. Put the spinach in a bowl and add the olives, mushrooms, garlic, salt, olive oil and crushed red pepper. Mix lightly with a spoon.

Stretch the dough like for pizza. Place filling in the center of each piece and roll the dough over like a calzone forming a pocket.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Bake pizza for 15 minutes at 425 F. Reduce heat to 375 F. and continue baking (for a total of 30 to 35 minutes) or until golden brown.
Cool and eat at room temperature.

Italian Bakery Pizza recipe Updated

In Providence RI, Italian bakeries sell a crusty pizza with simple toppings (crushed tomatoes, herbs, olive oil) with no cheese or pepperoni. It has a great olive oil and garlic taste. 

In this video you can see what it should look like.Try it. 

Here is a recipe for that pizza.

Dough
  • 400 grams water
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon yeast (the longer you are willing let it rise the less yeast you can use. Less yeast and longer rise time yields better texture, bigger holes)
  • 10 grams salt
  • 620 cups bread flour
Here is a link to my older recipe. It produces a crisper less chewy crust.

Topping:


  • 1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes - drained
  • 2/3 cup tomato puree
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic - crushed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (or dry)



Dough:

In a mixer add water then yeast then flour the salt. Mix with dough hook.
Allow to rest for a 15 minutes and stretch and fold refrigerate over night for best results or let rise until doubled.  Then stretch and fold again. form into about 4 balls and let then reach room temperature.

Topping:



Drain tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Crush well with your hands add puree. Add pepper and salt (to taste), oil, herbs and garlic.
 
Use a 20-by-15 inch baking sheet. Coat pan generously with olive oil - about 1/4 cup (this seems like a lot but trust me) and sprinkle with salt. Press out dough to fit pan. If dough resists, let it rest for a few minutes, then gentle coax it to fit the pan. Drizzle olive oil lightly on top of dough then sprinkle with garlic salt. Let the dough rise in the pan for about 15 minutes.  
Preheat oven to 425 F.   

Bake for 15 minutes or until the top starts to brown a little. Then take it out of the oven and paint the top with some olive oil.  Then spread on the tomato topping and drizzle the top with a little olive oil.


Bake pizza for 10 more minutes at 425 F. Reduce heat to 375 F. and continue baking (for a total of 40 minutes).

Cool and eat at room temperature.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Comments on a Gert Econtalk Episode (Poverty and Income)

Below are some comments about a great econtalk episode here about the change in skills demanded and the prospects for people without the skills now demanded.

What I find interesting in the regard is:
1. Kiryas Joel where the people are low income but not “poor”. They have the respect that you were talking about.
2. Mr Money Mustache shows what I see which is many middle and upper income people living on low income voluntarily.  Also look up tiny houses on youtube and you'll see these same class of people living in $10k homes.
3. My son when he graduated high school he took a job with a plumber doing the manual labor, he then due only to on the job learning became a plumber. He is doing great. His boss cannot get enough people, I presume because it's a dirty job. Same with auto mechanics (a little more intellectual job though).
4. It looks to me like we are so rich today in the Developed world that to many women singleness, which is clearly more expensive looks better than marrying the men available to them and BTW the college premium and the marriage premium are roughly equal.

Bottom line is, poverty may not be low income at all. Maybe schools should try to teach students more the stuff that will help them live better lives and less of what will help them succeed at the next level of education.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Will it be Orange Clown vs. Pink Clown

I'm with Bernie on the war in Iraq (though he did authorize Bush to go into Afghanistan with a pretty open ended bill and that was bad see 1 below), but he seems to have some Marxists ideas that I do not like. 

He talks about jailing bankers, compares drug co. executives to murders, calls for criminally prosecuting fossil fuel co. executives etc. which is #MoreLikeTheUSSRThanDenmark. And national rent control which is #MoreLikeVenezulaThanDenmark.  

Also he talks about rights to healthcare rather than providing healthcare being the charitable thing to do. Rights that require the labor of others are not really rights. The danger of such rhetoric is, rights are defended with violence.  On top of that, what level of healthcare (more than half or the expensive stuff doesn't work)? (See: herehere and here: ). In his mind, do I have any right at all to the money I acquired if I earned it honesty through free exchange?
 
He also heaped praise on the USSR and Venezuela, which indicates a level naivete.  


I'm afraid that the election will be between the Orange Clown (Trump) and the Pink clown (Bernie).

(1) Sanders supported Bill Clinton’s war on Serbia, voted for the 2001 Authorization Unilateral Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), which pretty much allowed Bush to wage war wherever he wanted, backed Obama’s Libyan debacle and supports an expanded US role in the Syrian Civil War.