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Disordered Thought

I take notes at local government meetings because my memory is near-nonexistent, and I’ve ruined in short order every handheld electronic device I’ve ever owned. I zone out when people are rehashing what was in the staff reports or when somebody is pontificating, stringing words and phrases from the synergy lexicon together with connecting words for proper syntax. Even so, the notes are so copious, I mark the really good and bad stuff to help me find it. This is what got marked last night:

  • Budget Manager Tony McDowell said the city expects revenues from property taxes will start growing soon.
  • A project for infill development was actually approved.
  • Opposing the project was one neighbor who could not believe the developers would offer a trail without also providing a management plan therefor.
  • Another expressed disbelief that the developer, with all the money he would be saving by increasing green space, couldn’t at least give the neighbors some cash or sidewalks.
  • Councilman Gordon Smith acknowledged council’s strategic goals were at odds.
  • Smith, who at recent meetings has been adamant about rent-controlling subsidized affordable housing in perpetuity, acknowledged that any housing would help the city’s deficit.
  • Councilman Cecil Bothwell suggested the developers were creating their environmentally-sensitive housing clusters for money instead of out of respect for the natural habitat. He said if the developers wanted to help the planet, they would propose something more off-the-grid with a lower impact. And the crowd went wild.
  • County Manager Jon Creighton said the county was looking into privatizing its garages, “to let somebody try to make some money.” Mayor Esther Manheimer asked him to let the city know what he learns. This would be lovely, except all sorts of meanings are assigned to “privatization” anymore. I have a friend who works for the city’s parking division and swears that because it is an enterprise fund it is privatized.
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Because There Is Such a Thing As a Stupid Question

I keep forgetting to ask, how will Walmart fund its pay increases? If it raises prices on food, what impact will that have on food stamp needs across the country?


Division in the Ranks

Progressives are now divided between environmentalists and New Urbanists. One common tater wrote to the Mountain Xpress charging mixed-use, high-density, infill near transit lines:

pits moneyed economic interests against the ordinary people.

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Galaxies Multiplying before My Eyes

Reporteth the Mountaineer:

Haywood Community College is responsible for injecting at least $92.8 million into Haywood County during the 2012-13 fiscal year, through the combined impact of operations, construction and the spending habits of their students, visitors and alumni. The economic impact is equal to approximately 6.0 percent of the total Gross Regional Product of Haywood County and is equivalent to creating 2,474 jobs.

First off, it is good I don’t go to HCC; my spending habits would skew the analysis. (My bank, the same one that freezes the credit card in the middle of the Mojave and when I score front and center seats with Ticket Master, is now trying to sell me life insurance.) Secondly, I would be interested in seeing these economic analyses performed for all businesses and agencies working out of or importing into the community to see how many jobs we can total.

It does not, however, showcase the overall impact that an institution has across the region, state or nation. In other words, those who graduate from HCC and find work outside of the Haywood County will not be reflected on this report.

OK. To be fair, let’s do it for the whole world. If we think globally, we won’t have to levy taxes to pay companies to land in our little gerrymandered piece of the map.

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It is difficult to live meaningfully or beautifully when an hour a day is spent fighting passwords, etc. But maybe I could free up other peoples’ time for graceful living if I just print them all here. Hey, go ahead and clone me. I can’t get any worse.

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Making Trails for the Poor & Hungry

Reporteth the Hendersonville Lightning:

The Flat Rock Village Council has authorized an expenditure of up to $66,000 as 20 percent match for a potential [federal] grant of $330,000 for trails, bridges, boardwalks and culverts at the park.

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How Dare the Perpetual Motion, Semi-Automatic Money Cannon!

The local daily has a piece on the IRS’ challenges answering phones.

The problems come after a couple of years in which the IRS has been besieged with concerns from Congress about the agency’s handling of tea party and similar groups — but not so much with worries about its ability to answer the telephone.

In other words, Congress should not worry about whether the agency is abusing power and oppressing certain groups. It should instead throw money at the agency like mad.

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Ha Ha Funny

A cartoon in the Mountain Xpress actually made me laugh. Behold!

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No Waste, Fraud, Abuse, Just a Big Imagination

Several articles have been published recently about weird healthcare expenses. For example, one tells about a study that concluded Certificates of Need drive up the costs of healthcare. I am not impressed. Logic teaches monopolies can only exist with government help (assuming government upholds its responsibility to fight fraud and abuse). Regulation necessarily reduces efficiencies, and inefficiencies drive up costs. CONs were reportedly begun because folks thought costs are proportional to supply (Cliquez pour le Wiki.), and they create walls for lateral entry into the medical field. The study only shows people have not felt enough pressure to work around the negative effects of the regulation.

Another article tells how Carolinas HealthCare is suing patients for unpaid hospital bills. The logic is, if the people didn’t have enough money to pay their bills, they can pay legal fees, too. Most of those owing are believed to be indigent. Yours truly recalls the uninsured trip to the hospital once upon a time for internal bleeding. An ambulance ride across the street for a premier hospital bed cost 3x$400, an $860 procedure was billed twice, a pill I refused cost $86, etc., etc., etc. After three half-days off work driving from office to office to find out where to go to challenge the bill, I gave up. Anybody who knows me knows I look and act like your scariest nightmare; and the person who drove me to the hospital, unbeknownst to me at the time, has a reputation for making stuff up to make people look bad. That could be why I got the revolving-door, dual-diagnosis bedside manner and the addition of “schizophrenic” and “C-section” to my medical records. (I don’t know what I did with the baby! Honest!) The point is, I have first-hand anecdotal experience corroborating claims that hospitals jack up prices on the uninsured because we don’t have a big staff of whistle-blowers reviewing our bills.

Then, we have Governor Pat postponing a decision on Medicaid expansion. I am opposed to expansion, as I don’t believe the money will go toward helping people. I think it will go toward giving insurance companies lots of money for supporting power-hungry politicians and formidable bureaucracies with numerous opportunities for meaningless employment.

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I Can Understand the Moon & Stars

The federal government has changed the way it grades nursing homes. It’s all about quality, and we not only know what that means, we know how to measure it fairly – or not fairly – oh, yes it is fairly.

The ratings were designed to help the public understand nursing home quality assessments, according to CMS.

The top 10 percent of nursing homes in each state — those with the lowest deficiency score — get a five-star rating, according to CMS.

The middle 70 percent get a rating of two, three or four stars, and the bottom 20 percent receive a one-star rating.

I suspect they did not want us to think them racist for insinuating orange had a more heightened quality than blue.

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