Monday, October 17, 2011

More academic evidence of the importance of genes and the UNIMPORTANCE of your home environment
"Human values: Genetic and environmental effects on five lexically derived domains and their facets"

By Walter Renner et al.


Whereas a substantial genetic component of Conservatism and Religiosity is well documented, there is little evidence with respect to the behavior genetics of other aspects of human values. A sample of 157 monozygotic and 74 dizygotic twins reared together received the Austrian Value Questionnaire (AVQ), which measures a broad variety of value domains and their facets, found by the lexical approach in the German language. Family resemblance of Intellectualism, Harmony, Materialism, and Conservatism was best explained by additive or dominance genetic and non-shared environmental effects, whereas the influence of the environment shared by twins was negligible. In contrast, Religiosity was transmitted by additive genetic, shared and non-shared environmental influences. At the level of facets, the Intellectualism and Harmony showed a homogenous etiology while Religiosity, Materialism, and Conservatism were etiologically heterogeneous.

Personality and Individual Differences. In Press, Corrected Proof - doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.09.003

Aren't you glad that there's someone around to translate that academic Double-Dutch for you?

Note initially that after decades of research it is now generally accepted that both political and religious ideology is substantially determined by your genes. You didn't CHOOSE to be a Conservative or religious: You were BORN that way. That still grates on the teeth of most people but that is what the inheritance research has repeatedly shown. Exactly WHAT is inherited which makes you a Leftist is still not pinned down but my bet is that it is a tendency to be miserable. Happiness is definitely a stable trait and conservatives are certainly happier, which again shows up repeatedly in research.

But that is all prelude. The reseachers above werre looking for OTHER things that might be genetically inherited. They found that traits of Intellectualism, Harmony, Materialism, and Conservatism were all determined heavily by genetics but hardly at all by the environment. Religiosity, however, was to a degree influenced by your environment. Pretty simple, really -- even if runs against almost everybody's preconceptions.

You now see why elections are won or lost according to how well the candidate appeals to the voter in the middle. Most of us are born conservative (happy) or Leftist (miserable) and can't be changed from that. It's only the minority who are half way between happy and miserable who can be swung. Background on previous research in the area here

Clarifying note: It is your tendency to be religious in general that is inherited, not your particular religion.


ObamaCare Starts to Unravel

The real story behind the Class program failure, and what to do now

Now that one of ObamaCare's major new benefit programs has been scrapped, liberals are trying to make stone soup by claiming that the Obama Administration merely committed an act of "good government." They claim that when this long-term care insurance program proved to be unworkable, the Administration conceded as much, and now it's gone. So let's review the evidence, not least because it so perfectly illustrates the recklessness that produced the Affordable Care Act.

When Democrats were pasting it together in 2009 and 2010, the immediate attraction of the program known by the acronym Class was that its finances could be gamed to create the illusion that a new entitlement would reduce the deficit. Ending the complicated Class budget gimmick erases the better part of ObamaCare's purported "savings," but it's also worth focusing on the program's long-run political goals.

For decades Democrats have been trying to put government on the hook for middle-class costs like home health services ($1,800 a month on average) and nursing homes ($70,000 to $80,000 per year). On paper, Class was supposed to be like normal insurance, funding benefits through premiums with no subsidy. But since the budget gimmick and the program's larger structure meant that premiums could never cover benefits, Democrats were trying to force a future Congress to prevent a Class bankruptcy using taxpayer dollars.

As the costs to the federal fisc continued to climb, the Democratic gambit was that Class would gradually morph into another part of Medicare. Insurance depends on younger, healthier people signing up to cross-subsidize the older and sicker, but under the Class program as written almost all of its enrollees would soon also be beneficiaries.

So to fix this "adverse selection," the plan was for Congress to eventually make participation mandatory, with the so-called premiums converted into another payroll tax and the benefits into another entitlement. Former White House budget director Peter Orszag has been writing that the long-term care insurance market can't function without a mandate, while HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declined to rule one out at a Senate hearing in February. Now they tell us.

The only reason the Health and Human Services Department pre-emptively called off this scheme is that former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg succeeded in inserting a proviso that required the Class program's reality to match Democratic promises as a matter of law. If HHS couldn't provide "an actuarial analysis of the 75-year costs of the program that ensures solvency throughout such 75-year period," it couldn't be legally implemented.

In other words, HHS had to prove that the Class program wouldn't go broke the way it was designed to—and actuarial analysis is a matter of math, not politics. In a 48-page report that HHS submitted to Congress Friday, the department concedes that it is literally impossible to create any kind of long-term care program under the law's statutory text in which revenues match expenditures. Such a plan would cost as much as $3,000 per month, which no one would ever buy.

The HHS gnomes even considered "features deviating from or going beyond a plain reading of the statutory language" that its lawyers didn't think could pass legal muster, and they still couldn't avoid violating the known laws of mathematics despite 19 months of trying. HHS lawyers also said the government would have to warn enrollees that the promised benefits weren't contracts and could be abrogated to "dispel any claims that the Class program had misled the public or had encouraged reliance on its programs under false pretenses."

Those pretenses have been obvious all along, with outside analysts and internal Administration experts saying Class wasn't viable. President Obama was a mask of indifference with no response when Paul Ryan took Class apart at the 2010 White House health summit. Democrats included it anyway, but now that the Administration itself has vindicated its critics, Republicans have a new political opportunity to make real health-care legislative progress.

At a minimum the GOP could begin by repealing the Class program altogether, since its legal authority is still intact. "One should never leave a partly loaded gun on the table, even if most of the chambers are empty or just house blanks," writes the American Enterprise Institute's Tom Miller. He also suggests attaching a few of the more destructive provisions and forcing Democrats to defend them, such as Mr. Orszag's Independent Payment Advisory Board of 15 political appointees who have broad unaccountable powers to control health-care markets and health care.

Our suggestion is for a Gregg-like amendment that applies to the entire health law and not simply Class. If reality can't match the rhetoric that accompanied the bill—about fiscal responsibility, bending the cost curve, keeping your health care if you like your health care and all the other false promises—then, legally, it should be repealed like Class. Call it a truth-in-advertising clause. ObamaCare would collapse in a heartbeat.



Change at the Top Creates Jobs at the Bottom

“When paperwork gets in the way of benefits, that’s a problem.”

So said John Bemis, Secretary-designate of New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, appointed by Governor Susana Martinez. What is significant about Bemis’ comment, made during a presentation in front of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association’s Annual meeting on October 3, is that it represents a total change in attitude from the previous administration and is indicative of the difference one person—at the top—can make.

The change in attitude in NM presents a case study from which the rest of the US would be wise to learn.

Governor Richardson’s approach was very much like President Obama’s. He added regulations and appointed people to positions of leadership who made doing business in the state difficult—especially in regard to natural resource management. As a result, businesses moved to other states and revenues suffered.

While some people think one person can't make that much of a difference, NM is proving that couldn't be farther from the truth. A culture of growth and prosperity starts with attitudes at the top.

Governor Martinez was elected in 2010. She appointed her people to head up the various agencies—including John Bemis at the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. The rules didn’t change; instead the new leadership reevaluated their application. Rather than dictating just because she can, Governor Martinez has chosen to focus where she can get the most bang for the buck. For example, the limited resources of the Oil Conservation Division can now be directed toward actual environmental issues, rather than enforcing paperwork.

As a result of the change in attitude at the top, industry is more enthusiastic about doing business in the state. As I usually do during August, September and October, I participated in three state-wide events; the annual meetings of the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico, New Mexico Mining Association, and New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. The contrast from previous years in the outlook of the participants was startling. They are excited about the possibilities! Instead of the regulations being used like a hammer to beat down all development, departments are now looking to help folks work within the regulations. If the regulations are excessively punitive or inappropriate, industry is encouraged to submit proposed changes—which they’ve done and which are being considered. Things are picking up in New Mexico.

Across the US, we have much the same problem as New Mexico did. We have excessive regulations, businesses are leaving, and revenues are suffering. The leadership has the power to reverse the trend. We’ve seen it in New Mexico. We saw it in August when President Obama instructed the EPA to delay the ozone regulations—which would have been one of the costliest in the history of the US as hundreds of counties would be instantly out of compliance for things as simple as fireworks displays.

The EPA has more tricks up its sleeve, and President Obama’s pick to head up the EPA, Lisa Jackson, has no intention of slowing down.

On October 10, an unprecedented group of Attorney Generals from 25 different states, joined together to ask Secretary Jackson to postpone implementation of the Utility MACT rule because it threatens to endanger electric reliability, eliminate jobs, and saddle consumers with significantly higher costs. The next day, the EPA issued a statement declaring that the rule would be implemented as planned on November 16. The MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) rule condenses potential future coal-fueled power plant improvements and upgrades into an unachievable timeline. As a result of the Utility MACT rule, electricity providers already have outlined which coal-fueled power plants will be shut down. The remaining plants will have to spend billions for the required overhauls for marginal or questionable benefits to public health.

As he did in early September with the ozone regulations, President Obama has the power to tell Secretary Jackson to slow down, delay, or stop altogether. However, without intense public pressure, he is unlikely to do anything. The Utility MACT rule is just one of the expensive rules flowing down from the EPA that will cause America to lose important and cost-effective energy that is essential to economic growth. The higher costs will be passed on to the already struggling businesses and households.

It is actions like the EPA’s complete disregard for the public’s outcry, as expressed by the 25 attorney generals, that has pushed Congress to attempt to limit these excessive regulations through the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 (HR 2250) passed by the House on October 13—which President Obama says he’ll veto should it make it through the Senate.

The one person at the top makes the difference.

Another example is the Wilderness and Roadless Area Relief Act (HR 1581), which aims to legislatively push what the one person at the top won’t do.

There are 43 million acres of federal lands that for decades have been managed as “wilderness”—meaning that potential grazing and resource development is limited, firefighting efforts are thwarted, and recreation and tourism are restricted—despite the fact that these areas have already been studied and determined to be unsuitable for wilderness. The BLM and the Forest Service has recommended that the restrictive management practices be lifted. Instead of encouraging Congress to do so, President Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued an order to lock up more lands with a new label: “Wild Lands”—conflicting with the Wilderness Act which states that only Congress has the right to designate wilderness areas.

The Wilderness and Roadless Area Relief Act will remove these lands from limbo and opens them up for multiple uses, while giving local communities a voice in how the lands are managed. Unfortunately, based on their record, the people at the top are unlikely to support the recommendations of the BLM and Forest Service. They will probably choose to keep these lands locked up, blocking economic development and job creation.

However, remember, President Obama did order Secretary Jackson to delay implementation of the ozone rules. We can be confident that he didn’t do this because he one day had an epiphany and realized that the regulations were too harsh. He backed down because public pressure was so intense that it became clear his support of the expensive rule threatened his re-election.

Ideally, the public pressure changes the behavior of people at the top—absent that, like we did in New Mexico—we change the people at the top.

Because, one person can make a difference.




NASA buys flights on Virgin Galactic’s private spaceship: "The space tourism company Virgin Galactic has struck a deal with NASA worth up to $4.5 million for research flights on the company's new private spaceliner SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic officials announced Oct. 13. Under the deal, NASA will charter up to three flights on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, an air-launched spacecraft designed to carry eight people on trips to suborbital space."

How to lie with statistics: Tax rates: "A good deal of the recent rhetoric in support of Democratic proposals for raising taxes is designed to make it sound as though rich people pay federal taxes at a lower rate than everyone else. That, as one can easily check by looking at the published figures from the Congressional Budget Office, is not only false but wildly false."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


No comments: