Why Are EEOC Charges So High?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) publishes data showing how many charges were filed annually and I’ve noticed something peculiar with this data.

For those not familiar, these charges constitute the total number of claims filed with the EEOC for various harassment and discrimination cases (Race, Sex, National Origin, Religion, Color, Age and Disability) as well as claims of retaliation and violations of the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

You’ll notice on the graph below that something happened around 2008 that caused a larger number of charges to be filed and that number has been pegged high at about 98,000 per year for the past 6 years.

EEOC charges filed

And this increase wasn’t confined to a particular type of discrimination/harassment area because all of the case types increased in magnitude at the same time (you can follow the link above to verify this fact for yourself).

Why has there been an unusually high number of EEOC charges over the past 6 years?

You’ll notice from the graph above that there was a smaller uptick in EEOC charges around the 2001 time frame so it may be correlated with the US economic situation (we had recessions in 2001 and 2008).

I grabbed the US GDP growth rate for these years and added this data to the graph and you can see that as the economy takes a dip, EEOC charges increase.

EEOC vs US GDP

I guess this makes sense. As the US enters an economic downturn there are more layoffs, terminations and closings and people might be inclined to think they were singled out due to discrimination or retaliation. People may also be faced with a loss of income and looking for a way to get a quick infusion of cash by bringing and EEOC claim against their former employer in hopes of a quick settlement.

It also makes sense that the EEOC charge increases in 2008/2009 would be more than in 2001 since the latter recession was much more severe than the former – The 2001 recession only lasted about 8 months but the 2008/2009 recession lasted almost twice that long at about 15 months (Q4 2008 through Q4 2009).

But why has the number of EEOC charges remained high well after the 2008/2009 Great Recession ended?

To help answer that question let’s first look at a graph showing how well EEOC charges are correlated to US GDP Growth rate for this period.

EEOC vs GDP correlation

The Correlation Coefficient (R2) is only 34% and that isn’t a very good correlation but keep in mind that while the US GDP has been growing for the past 4 years, the EEOC charges are still high (which is in stark contrast to the recovery after the 2001 recession when EEOC charges dropped).

What happens if I look at the correlation with the last 4 years removed?

EEOC vs GDP correlation recovery removed

Now the Correlation Coefficient is 79% so this graph provides a much stronger case that EEOC charges are correlated with US GDP Growth.

So something special has happened over the past 4 years during the Obamanomics ‘recovery’ that has still kept these EEOC charges high and contradicted the historical trend that states EEOC charges should’ve come down during a recovery from a recession.

Is the US not really in a true recovery like we’ve seen in the past and the slow growth has still left many people looking for work or suffering from layoffs? Probably, since the Obamanomics recovery has not measured up to other recoveries from a deep recession.

Or has there been a cultural shift in the US where more people have an entitlement mentality and are looking to get a quick buck at their employers’ expense?

Probably a little of both but this data should not be ignored. Something has changed in the US over the past 5 years and this EEOC data is trying to tell us something. We’d be wise to listen to it.

Posted in economics, politics | 1 Comment

You Can’t Earn Your Way To Heaven

Ex NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks he has earned his ticket to Heaven:

“But if he (Bloomberg) senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

This lack of ignorance of the Gospel is bad enough for an individual but the reality is the majority of the world’s population thinks like this – The eternal afterlife is something that must be earned.

If that is the way God set up this Universe then you’d think there would be a book defining exactly how much ‘good’ needs to be performed to outweigh the ‘bad’ so we can frequently tally up our scorecard so that we stay on the passing side.

Most people believe the Bible is that book and believe that they must follow the general guidelines like those listed in Luke 6:31 (commonly referred to as “The Golden Rule”):

“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”

If that was all we had of the Bible then I’d have to agree with them but again I have to ask – How much is enough?

If this was the system that God setup then it’s only fair to request a rulebook showing how our life will be scored. Do I just have to have more good deeds than bad? Is it more like 70/30? How much is enough?

Unfortunately for the ‘good works’ crowd, God did provide some guidance on this topic.

Rom 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Mat 5:48 – “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

If you are counting on your good works to get your golden ticket to the afterlife then the Bible has some very bad news for you – You have been dealt a losing hand. A passing grade on your life’s deeds requires that you lead a perfect life (i.e ZERO sins). That revelation is bad enough but it gets worse when you realize that humans were created with a bent toward sinning so we are therefore all imperfect and fall woefully short of a passing grade.

Fortunately God provided a way out for us. He sent his Son to die for our sins on the cross and all we have to do is realize that we are indeed sinful and can do nothing to justify ourselves to the Creator and instead rely on the perfect sacrifice of the only true sinless person, Jesus, to pay for our sins (past, present and future).

The last words of Jesus on the Cross were “It is finished” and the Greek word used here was “tetelestai” and someone much wiser than I once told me we derive our English word “Total” from this word. What a fitting ending to the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross – Our debt has been totaled up and paid in full!

So there is truly Good News for us! Our losing hand that we were dealt at birth is not our only hope at obtaining salvation:

Rom 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Eph 2:8-9 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

What a miraculous gift! Heaven can’t be earned and we all deserve death and hell but though the sacrifice of Jesus and our acceptance of that free gift, we may obtain eternal life!

Any attempt to boast of your good deeds and equate those as justification for you getting into heaven is equivalent to saying that the death and resurrection of Jesus was a meaningless event.  We obtain salvation ONLY because of the sacrifice of Jesus and nothing (NOTHING) we can do can add to that.  It was sufficient.  Tetelestai!

Share this Good News this week with someone who desperately needs it.

Posted in christianity | 2 Comments

Babies Cry At Night But Not For The Reason You Think

cutest-crying-baby-01(Alternate Headline – “All The Big Problems Have Been Solved”)

As a parent of two children (12 year old daughter and 9 year old son) I can still remember the sleep deprived months after they were born when my wife and I would be up with the 3:00am feedings, diaper changes, etc. And yes, it wasn’t just my wife who did this, I did my fair share!

We were fortunate with our daughter in that she found her thumb after about 2 months and started sleeping through the night from that point on. But our son never figured out the thumb sucking thing and we couldn’t keep enough milk in him so it was many months before he eventually started sleeping through the night (The cereal mixed with his last night time milk feeding had enough substance to get him through the night).

So we thought our kids were crying in the middle of the night because they either needed settling down with a sucking thumb or was hungry and needed a quick top off.

There is a new paper from the journal Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health that states there is a more sinister reason our newborns wake us up in the middle of the night.

“All these observations are consistent with a hypothesis that waking at night to suckle is an adaptation of infants to extend their mothers’ lactational amenorrhea, thus delaying the birth of a younger sib and enhancing infant survival.”

“Blurton Jones and da Costa proposed that night waking to suckle is an adaptation of infants to suppress ovarian function in their mothers, thereby delaying the conception of a younger sib with whom an infant must compete for parental care and attention.”

A baby is genetically imprinted to wake up its parents so they can’t have sex and make more babies that will eventually compete with their future playing time on the X-Box and share of college tuition money.

The science is settled.

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Embrace Holy Week

Christians attended Palm Sunday worship service yesterday but unfortunately any make the mistake to move quickly to Easter and forget about the week’s events that led up to the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.

Do not make that mistake. Jesus had an incredibly emotional week that involved Him being forsaken by EVERYONE from His closest followers, the political leaders, the religious leaders and most importantly by His Father.

Do not gloss over this. When Jesus was forsaken, nobody (not even God), came to His defense.

At some point in time we will feel forsaken but unlike what Jesus encountered during Holy Week, we have someone who will always come to our defense. We can always count on the Man who was nailed to a tree on a Friday over 2,000 years ago.

Posted in christianity, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Effects Of High Intensity Exercise On Blood Sugar Levels

Does exercise help reduce blood sugar levels in Type 2 Diabetics? Of course!

“When you do moderate exercise, like walking, that makes your heart beat a little faster and breathe a little harder. Your muscles use more glucose, the sugar in your blood stream. Over time, this can lower your blood sugar levels. It also makes the insulin in your body work better. You’ll get these benefits for hours after your walk or workout.”

But notice that most of the links you’ll find on this topic stress ‘moderate’ exercise – walking, cycling, swimming, etc. What about higher intensity exercise like lifting weights?

That is good too!

“In scientific studies, strength training has been found to improve insulin sensitivity in those individuals with diabetes to the same extent that aerobic exercise does. Extended periods of strength training improve blood sugar control as well as taking a diabetes drug. In fact, in those people with diabetes, strength training in combination with aerobic exercise may be even more beneficial.”

I am a type 2 diabetic who is controlling my blood sugar levels without medication by staying on a low carb, high protein/fat diet similar to the Paleo diet and employing a moderate exercise routine. I’ve been successful at this but about a month ago I tore my left calf muscle so I decided to perform an experiment to determine how exercise (and specifically high intensity exercise) affects my blood sugar levels.

Prior to my injury I ran and rode my bike for cardio/endurance exercise but I would not call those workouts high intensity. A few times a week I ran 3-5 miles at about an 11 minute/mile pace and once a week I rode a bike for 1-2 hours at about a 14 mph pace so I’m not threatening any world records here! I occasionally lifted weights but this was extremely low key, lasted only about 15 minutes and never happened to the point of strain (high reps of light weights).

So here is how I designed my experiment. For about 2 weeks after my calf injury I quit exercising entirely – no cardio/endurance and no light weight lifting. Then for a week after that 2 week layoff from exercising I lifted high intensity weights every day. My definition of “high intensity” – I lifted weights for about 45 minutes and instead of high reps/light weight, I employed low reps/heavy weights to the point where my heart rate was elevated and I definitely broke a sweat. I focused mainly on upper body lifting due to the calf injury but I included some fairly intense abdominal workouts as well.

The following graph compares my morning blood sugar measurements for the three time periods – Red is when I was exercising moderately, Blue is when I eliminated exercise and Green is when I incorporated high intensity exercise. And it should be noted that my diet never changed during these 3 periods and the only variable I manipulated was exercise.

high intensity exercise

To be honest, I was very surprised by these results. I knew that exercise lowers blood sugar but I had no idea how much of a benefit I would see from just doing high intensity weight lifting.

My experiment not only confirmed that even moderate exercise lowers blood sugar levels but also that high intensity exercise drastically reduces blood sugar levels.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Is The Paleo Diet Becoming Mainstream?

I’ve written at length about how a low carb, high protein, high fat diet has allowed me, as a Type 2 Diabetic, to control my blood sugar levels without medication.

Controlling my Diabetes through this lifestyle change shouldn’t be revolutionary but it is. The medical community as a whole defaults to medicine to fix the symptoms instead of driving down to the cause of the problem and recommending lifestyle changes.

The Paleo diet, which is basically what I’m on, has been around a while and you can go here to read all about it and read many of the peer reviewed journal articles that have been written about it. The more I learn about how our modern diet filled with processed foods and carbohydrates leads to weight gain, joint inflammation and heart problems, the more I’m amazed how silent the medical community is on this topic and why we aren’t all talking more about it.

My frustration turned to excitement this week when I heard an NPR story that revealed how the fat free meme of the 1990’s was actually bad for us.

“Remember the fat-free boom that swept the country in the 1990s?”

“I definitely remember eating fat-free cookies, fat–free pudding, fat-free cheese, which was awful,” Elizabeth Stafford, an attorney from North Carolina, told us in the survey.”

“Back then, she avoided all kinds of foods with fat: cheese, eggs, meat, even nuts and avocados. Most of the experts were recommending a low-fat diet to prevent heart disease.”

“And, as a result, her diet was full of sugar (lots of fat-free, sugary yogurt) and carbohydrates, like bagels.”

“[Carbs] were the base of the pyramid,” says Mozaffarian. The message was “eat all carbohydrates you want.”

“Americans took this as a green light to eat more refined grains such as breads, processed snack foods and white pasta.”

And Ms. Stafford wasn’t alone. Most of America switched to high sugar foods and carbs as a substitute for fat and we patted ourselves on the back for making this healthy choice. As a runner, I had it beaten in my head that I had to carbo-load before a big workout or I would risk hitting the wall. Glycogen was the main fuel our muscles needed to burn and Carbs (that would be converted to sugars and then glycogen) were the primary source of this fuel.

But was that the right thing to do?

There were attempts of some in the scientific community to question this low fat, high carb diet but they were silenced.

From the NPR article:

“But, by the mid-1990s, Willett says, there were already signs that the high-carb, low-fat approach might not lead to fewer heart attacks and strokes. He had a long-term study underway that was aimed at evaluating the effects of diet and lifestyle on health.”

“We were finding that if people seemed to replace saturated fat — the kind of fat found in cheese, eggs, meat, butter — with carbohydrate, there was no reduction in heart disease,” Willett says.”

“Willett submitted his data to a top medical journal, but he says the editors would not publish his findings. His paper was turned down.”

“There was a lot of resistance to anything that would question the low-fat guidelines,” Willett says, especially the guidelines on saturated fat.”

The pharmaceutical industry had a steady cash flow that that was threatened by this lifestyle/diet solution so they didn’t want this type of information published. Even the American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that a person with Diabetes can consume up to 270 grams of carbs per day and that is like telling an alcoholic he can drink wine with breakfast. The ADA is obviously more concerned will selling medication than helping people live long, healthy lives.

The ADA makes this statement about eating 270 grams of carbs per day because: 1) their guidelines for what is considered high blood sugar (130 mg/dL fasting and 180 mg/dL after a meal) are still above the level of a non-diabetic person (100 mg/dL fasting and 140 mg/dL after a meal) and 2) they count on the medication to keep the sugar spikes from occurring.

But that is not the solution! Even slightly elevated levels of blood sugar, over a long time, will do damage to your body’s organs and following the advice of the ADA is just ensuring the slow, painful death that most diabetics eventually succumb to (amputating limbs, heart failure, etc.).

Thankfully, we are now starting to realize that fat (the good kind) is not the evil food we once thought it was.

From the NPR article:

“Now, nearly two decades later, a more complicated picture has emerged of how fats and carbohydrates contribute to heart disease.”

“For instance, it’s clearer that some fats, namely plant-based fats found in nuts and olive oil, as well as those found in fatty fish, are beneficial. Willett says there’s strong evidence that they help reduce the risk of heart disease.”

“There’s now evidence that — compared with carbs — saturated fat can raise HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and lower trigylcerides in the blood, which are both countering effects to heart disease, he says.”

“So, the message here seems to be: Cut back on all those refined carbs, and remember that some fat is good.”

Amen!

My daily diet consists of around 125 grams of protein, 125 grams of fat and less than 50 grams of carbs (obtained from vegetables, fruit and nuts). My fat comes from avocados, nuts, eggs, meat (yes, even bacon!), cheese, mayonnaise (not the lite kind, the full leaded version) and oils such as coconut oil. Food tastes great, I’m building muscle, my blood sugar measurements are still in the normal range of a non-diabetic and I not only have lost weight but I’m keeping it off.

I still lift weights, run and ride a bike for exercise and I can do all this because my body has switched from burning glycogen to burning fat. Full disclosure, it took a couple of months for my body to make that adjustment but once it did, I am now a fat burning machine and even though I don’t carbo-load anymore, I still can ride a bike for 1 -2 hours and not hit the wall.

This is the message that should be pushed all across America right now from the office water coolers to the physician examining rooms – Carbs are bad. Protein is good. Fat is good.

 

Posted in Diabetes, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Media Matters Says Homosexual Is Offensive Term

Really, they did:

Referring to gay people as “homosexual” is a practice that’s quickly falling out of favor with major news outlets due the term’s often pejorative connotation and frequent use by opponents of LGBT equality. But Fox News has yet to update its language when referring to gay and lesbian people.
Fox employees from Megyn Kelly to Sarah Palin continue to use the word “homosexual” to describe gays and lesbians.

Well, I had no idea calling a homosexual a “homosexual” had a “pejorative connotation” and that this term was only used by “opponents of the LGBT equality” but I guess that’s the new rules as outlined by Media Matters.
I’m not the only one to be late getting this memo because today I heard that “offensive” word used by Boy George. Remember him? He actually has a new album being released this week and NPR’s David Greene sat down to talk to him about it and check out this exchange about a track on the new album (emphasis mine).

GREENE: OK, Boy George, sort this out for me: You say, in a way, it sort of speaks to what we were talking about, and in a way, it doesn’t.
GEORGE: Well, it’s a man singing to his wife. He’s talking about his kid crying. So that wouldn’t be about me, because I’m a homosexual. I don’t have any kids. So, it’s not a literal song. So, it’s a kind of filmic song. You know, I wrote it like a film script. And it’s a song about messing up, and yes, I’ve done that, but it’s not literally about me. You know, if it was about me, I’d call it “Queen of Everything.”

By Media Matters’ new rules, Boy George is now considered an opponent of LGBT equality.

Posted in politics | 5 Comments

AGW Cult Admits To Cooking The Data

The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult is getting bold.  They are actually showing us how much they have adjusted the raw temperature data and the data is hiding in plain sight.

The US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) data set has seen numerous adjustments and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tells us about them here.  At the bottom of the page you’ll find this graph showing the total adjustments they’ve made to the USHCN data set since 1900.

USHCN adjustments graphI’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the last few decades have been adjusted UP 0.3 – 0.5°F (or 0.17 – 0.3°C) yet the temperature data prior to that has been adjusted down or left alone.

Well, they have to do that or else they have to deal with the temperature data from satellites that show no warming over the past 17 years.

rss graphCrooks and Liars, every one of them.

Posted in Climate Change | 2 Comments

NPR Still Drinking The AGW Koolaid

NPR ran a story today detailing how the recent harsh winter has dealt a series of body blows to the infrastructure of many US cities and Chicago in particular.

“This winter’s crazy, crazy busy,” says John Polishak, a foreman for the Chicago Department of Water Management. “Everybody’s been working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s exhausting.”

“Most water pipes in Chicago are buried 5 feet deep, which is usually below the frost line, but record-cold temperatures caused the ground to freeze much deeper than normal.”

“Tom Powers, a Chicago Department of Water Management commissioner, says the biggest problem is that the cold weather “has not let up.”

“We’ve had a very challenging year,” he says. Cold and snow have just continued “for another week, and another week, and another week. Here we are in March, and we’ve had almost three full months of some of the worst weather I’ve seen in my years with the city of Chicago.”

“That’s led to more frozen water services than any other winter in recent memory, Powers says. “In 2013, we had roughly at this time, round numbers, about a thousand calls. This year it’s over 5,200.”

Everyone knows this winter has been very cold and snowy but remember it was just 14 years ago when the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult was making predictions like this (emphasis mine):

“Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.”

“However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

Wow, that prediction proved pretty silly and with all this evidence in the NPR story surely they’ve backed off their full support of the AGW lies.  Nope:

“Herrmann and others say this is a critical time to make greater investments in infrastructure, because climate change will likely bring more extreme weather and more violent storms.”

Ahhh, I see the AGW cult has changed their story.  It was several years ago when the AGW cult changed their phrasing from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ and now instead of predicting warmer winters (which obviously aren’t happening) they are now saying ‘extreme weather’ is what we can expect with higher atmospheric CO2 levels.

This new wordsmithing might be acceptable to an NPR reporter who is part of the reason why this AGW lie persists, but that ‘extreme weather’ argument fails miserably when you look at the actual science and data  here, here and here.

This is why I compare AGW theory proponents to cult members.  It takes a special kind of ignorance to still believe in this lie when all the evidence of the past 17 years discredits the main tenants of the AGW cult theology.

rss vs co2

Posted in Climate Change, npr | Leave a comment

Liberals Love To Fix Things

Or at least they love to TRY to fix things…..

The latest episode of “Hi, we’re the Government and we’re here to help you” comes straight from the top, POTUS.

“The president plans to exercise his executive authority on Thursday, leapfrogging Congress to direct the Labor Department to come up with guidelines that would set a new, higher income threshold at which employers are required to pay overtime.”

“Under current law, only workers earning $455 per week or less are eligible for overtime pay, though two states — California and New York — have independently raised their overtime minimums.”

“A $250 per week threshold for overtime pay eligibility was originally established in 1975 by the Labor Department, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, for “white collar” employees; it was increased by the Bush administration in 2004 to its current $455 level. The White House argues that, adjusted for inflation, that threshold for workers today, overwhelmingly not white collar workers, would be $553.”

Here is the ‘logic’ behind this latest proposal from Team Obama (and I use that term loosely).

Based on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a company has to divide its workforce into two classifications – non-exempt (paid hourly and overtime is compensate) and exempt (paid a salary and overtime is not compensated).  The rules for determining what label to use is complicated (hey, the FLSA came from the Government so what do you expect?) but basically employees who supervise or manage are called exempt and the rest are called non-exempt.  There is also a salary guide to aid in this classification and that is where the $455/week comes in – people who make less than that are ALWAYS non-exempt but you can make more than that and still be non-exempt if the FLSA guidelines allow it.

So Obama is aiming this regulation update at low level managers who make just above that $455/week threshold.  I’m sure Obama is targeting companies like fast food restaurants and bargain retailers who pay their managers low wages (due to low profit margins) but under the FLSA they have to call them exempt.

And did you catch that?  Under the FLSA rules, companies HAVE to classify their low wage managers as exempt.  They might have easily called them non-exempt and paid them overtime wages but the FLSA wouldn’t allow that so now we have to add more regulations to fix the problems created from prior regulations.

My argument against this latest gimmick from the Left is the same as I have against raising the minimum wage – This will end up hurting workers.  Companies will have layoffs and reduce hiring to offset the higher wages and will reclassify job duties of some exempt managers to non-exempt which will justify giving those employees a decrease in pay.

From the NPR article, Marc Freedman of the US Chamber of Commerce makes the point very well:

“Marc Freedman, who heads the labor law policy shop for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, predicted dire consequences blooming from the wage and overtime changes — and linked the problems to the president’s health care legislation.”

“Changing the rules for overtime eligibility will, just like increasing the minimum wage, make employees more expensive, and will force employers to look for ways to cover these increased costs,” he said in a statement.”

“Similar to minimum wage, these changes in overtime rules will fall most harshly on small and medium-sized businesses already trying to figure out the impact of Obamacare on them,” he said.”

Here’s a crazy idea – How about letting businesses classify and pay their employees the way they see fit and get the Government out of that decision?

Drop the minimum wage along with the whole FLSA and let employees decide who is hourly, who is salaried and what each employee gets paid.

We no longer live in the 19th century when jobs were hard to find and most people were uneducated.  If a company chooses to treat their employees like slaves, pay them a low wage or refuse to pay overtime guess what will happen?  Nobody will want to work there and the company will go under.

The companies that treat their employees fairly will get the best and brightest and will subsequently succeed and turn higher profits.  Companies will start competing against each other to offer the best salary and benefits to get the best workforce instead of what happens today where companies only have to meet the minimum requirements set forth by our all knowing Federal Government.

The Free Market works.  It’s way past the time we get the Government out of the way.

Posted in economics, Over Regulation, politics | Leave a comment

My Type-2 Diabetes Journey – 1 Year Update

It has been a year since my doctor diagnosed me with Type 2 Diabetes and although that life changing moment was difficult on me and my family, in hindsight it was the best wake-up call I could have received.

I shared the good news in a previous post that in less than a year’s time I brought my blood sugar measurements in line with a non-diabetic person and how I did this without medication.  When I saw my endocrinologist on 13-JAN-14 for a routine checkup he noticed my A1C was 5.1% (which is right in the middle of the range for a non-diabetic) and he released me from his care since there was nothing more he could do for me.

But being an engineer who is a firm believer in the Continuous Improvement (CI) methodology, I was not satisfied.

For those not familiar, CI is a four step process to improve a process and it goes something like this:

Plan – Propose an improvement or solution to a problem.

Do – Implement the improvement or solution.

Check – Measure the process to ascertain the effects of the change.

Act – Either abandon or accept your proposal based on the effects of the process that the data showed.

PLAN

As I have stated before in previous posts on the Diabetes topic, I was a bread/carbohydrate junkie.  I had bread with every meal and threw in generous portions of potatoes, rice, grits and other starchy foods that quickly convert into sugars in the bloodstream and would raise my blood sugar levels far above normal once I stopped taking the diabetes medicine (and if I ate enough of it, the medicine couldn’t bring the blood sugar levels down either).

Eliminating the potatoes, rice, beans and grits were hard but it was surprisingly easier than I had thought – I just substituted those portions with vegetables and that filled that void.  But I love sandwiches and found the act of eating a sandwich without the bread to hold it together was just insane.  And don’t get me started on how hard it is to eat an enchilada without a tortilla!

To fix this problem, I found some low carbohydrate pitas (that I talked about here) and those products served as a tasty substitute for my sandwich bread and wraps for my Mexican food.  While those were lower in carbohydrates than normal bread/tortillas, I wondered if these low carbohydrate pitas were still causing my blood sugars to be elevated.

DO

So the day after my endocrinologist released me, I decided to perform a CI experiment by eliminating these from my diet.

Did I have to eliminate sandwiches and Mexican food?  No!  I still ate the internal contents of those great foods but I had to make some changes since I no longer had the bread or tortillas to hold them together.  My ‘sandwiches’ were eaten with a knife and fork and my enchiladas, tacos and burritos were eaten in bowls.

My daily intake of carbohydrates was about 50g when I was eating these low carbohydrate pitas and after I eliminated them I dropped to about 30g per day.  As a side note, the American Diabetes Association recommends a diabetic limit his daily carbohydrate intake to 270g and that advice is basically like telling a person to drink poison but that is a topic for another blog post.

CHECK

Here is a graph of my morning blood sugar measurements from 01-NOV-13 to 13-JAN-14 (when I was still eating the pitas) compared with my morning blood sugar measurements from 14-JAN-14 to 09-MAR-14 (the 2 months after I eliminated these from my diet).

pre and post pita graphThe average morning blood sugar measurement before 14-JAN-14 was 100.86 mg/dL with a standard deviation of 9.35 mg/dL and once I eliminated the pitas the average was 96.61 mg/dL and the standard deviation was 8.97 mg/dL.

But you will notice two spikes in the post-pita elimination data and those had an assignable cause.  The first big spike was from a meal I ordered at a restaurant that I wasn’t sure of when I placed the order but once it arrived I knew it had all kinds of sugary goodness in the sauce.  I was with a large group of work colleagues and didn’t want to make a fuss so I ate it and sure enough my morning blood sugars were high for 3 days after.

The other spike toward the end of the data set was intentional.  I ordered an enchilada and ate the tortilla just to see what the effect would be and sure enough my morning blood sugar measurements were high for 2 days after.

If I remove those 5 data points (for which I knew I went off my diet and altered the experiment) the graph looks like this.

pre and post pita graph adjustedYou can clearly see that the two populations are different and the removal of the low carbohydrate pitas brought my average and variation in morning blood sugar measurements down.  The average morning blood sugar measurement after I eliminated the pitas was 94.41 mg/dL and the standard deviation was 5.58 mg/dL.

ACT

The data proved my hypothesis that eliminating these low carbohydrate pitas from my diet would lower my morning blood sugar measurements and reduced the variation – The average morning blood sugar measurement decreased by 6.45 mg/dL (6.4%) and the standard deviation decreased by 3.77 mg/dL (40.32%).  Success!

Eliminating these pitas was something I knew I had to do but I had to design the experiment and prove my hypothesis with data.  No looking back now…..

Addendum – For further proof of how you can beat Type 2 Diabetes in less than a year, here is a graphs of my morning blood sugar measurements for the past year.

blood sugar graph past year

Posted in Diabetes | 11 Comments

EV Car Sales Plunge

The following comment was post to a previous blog post about the poor sales of the Chevy Volt as compared to the Nissan Leaf:

volt commentWell, technically that comment is true.  People are still buying EV’s but the sales trend doesn’t look good for the Chevy Volt and another popular Electric Vehicle (EV,) the Nissan Leaf, over the last 2 months.

volt vs leafThe plunge in sales for these two popular EV’s is even worse when plotted against all US auto sales.

volt vs all auto salesleaf vs all us autosTwo data points (sales numbers for January and February 2014) do not make a trend but this is worth keeping an eye on.

Posted in economics, politics | Leave a comment

The Left’s Winning Strategy In 2014

Today on NPR Democratic Senator from New York Chuck Schumer revealed the Democrats’ winning strategy for the midterm elections this year.

Here was the exchange at the end of the story where Chuck let this strategic gem slip:

GREENE: But it’s Obamacare that’s on the mind of a lot of voters right now. I mean, we had a recent piece in Louisiana where we heard from people saying that they like Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu – one of your colleagues – you know, and they’d vote for her if she hadn’t voted for the Affordable Care Act.

SCHUMER: I would tell you if Mary Landrieu does what she continues to do – talk about getting the middle-class moving again – that will be more important than Obamacare in her election, and she will prevail.

GREENE: It’s a matter of changing the conversation out there, you’re saying.

SCHUMER: I think, yes, it’s a matter of we are changing the conversation as we’re going to bring a whole series of bills to the floor that affect middle-class economy. But at the same time, it’s what people really feel.

In other words, here is the Democratic message for the American people in 2014 – Stop listening to the news reports about how Obamacare is causing real pain for the country but instead start listening to our empty promises about how we are going to fight for the middle class.

That sounds like a great strategy.  Good luck with that Chuck.

But wait!  Remember in November of 2013 when Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said that Democrats would win in 2014 by running ON Obamacare?

I think Chuck and Debbie need to get on the same page.

Posted in politics | Leave a comment

NPR Editing Mistake?

I listen to NPR twice a day (don’t ask, I have my reasons) and today I caught this gem that you won’t find easily on NPR’s website but here is a link.

Morning Edition host David Greene was talking to reporter Girish Gupta about the mess in Venezuela right now.  As is noted in the story’s opening, even before the current upheaval, the country was a no good, rotten place to live:

“Venezuela, we should say, has one of the world’s worst rates of violent crime. Inflation is running at 56 percent, and stores are often out of basic staples such as milk and flour.”

And toward the end, here is the best part:

GREENE: You know, you’re describing this economic mess, which makes me want to try and understand why this oil-rich country is in this situation. I mean, why isn’t the oil money in Venezuela actually helping to make people better off?

GUPTA: Well, that is the big question here, and that’s the question the opposition often poses to the government. OPEC says Venezuela has the world’s highest oil reserves, yet they don’t necessarily seem to be making Venezuelans rich themselves. You’ve also got social economic policies, such as currency controls and price controls, essentially devaluing people’s money every single day.

Wow, who would’ve guessed that price and currency controls would wreck an economy?  A country with one of the highest oil reserves is essentially in a state of poverty so we all should be taking note of what brought this crisis in Venezuela.

But that isn’t the most interesting part of that last quote from Gupta.  The quotes above are from the transcript on the NPR website and pay attention to the word I highlighted above as you go back to the link and click the play icon next to “Listen to the story.’  You can listen to all 4+ minutes but if you don’t have time skip ahead to the 2:30 mark for the above exchange between Greene and Gupta.  See if you can catch the mistake in the transcript.

Did you catch that?

The audio said “socialist economic policies” not “social economic policies” and that little error makes a big difference.  Or was it an error?  Is NPR trying to hide the fact that we see another example in Venezuela, like we’ve seen in countless other countries throughout history, where Socialism is horrible for the economy and its people?

And here is a screen shot of the NPR article in case you think I’m altering the NPR text:

npr socialist

Leftists are living in denial about the evils of Socialism and NPR isn’t helping matters by burying this story AND altering the transcript to remove any link of Socialism to Venezuela’s recent woes.

Posted in economics, npr, politics | 2 Comments

My Theory Of Parenting

It’s all about building up lots and lots of calluses.

There is no way someone who has never played the guitar could pick up one and start playing for hours as if he were Jimi Hendrix.  And it’s not just because there are years of musical training required to get to that point.  Even if science found a way to magically ‘download’ Jimi’s guitar playing skill to your brain, you still couldn’t do it.

Why?  Because you haven’t built up the calluses on your fingers yet.

Spending years playing a stringed instrument not only hones your musical ability but it also causes  calluses to build up on your finger tips that will allow you to play longer, faster and harder than you could when you started.  Without those calluses, any attempt to play difficult pieces of music for hours on end would cause your fingers to end up as bloody stumps.

You have to slowly build up those calluses in order to take your craft to the next level.

Same goes for parenting.  I don’t mean that you get callus over time and lose interest or feeling for your job as a parent.  I mean these parental calluses toughen you up and give you the wisdom and courage to take on the more difficult parental tasks/decisions as your kids grow up.  Reading books about parenting are great but having the knowledge to do the right thing is not enough – you have to put in the work and build up those calluses.  Experience can’t be learned, it must be endured.

My wife and I are parents to a 12 year old daughter and a 9 year old son and while I’m only half way through the process of rearing them to adulthood, I’ve learned that parenting is really about intentionally entering into the struggles of parenting so that these stronger calluses can form.

On Friday my daughter is leaving for a weekend choir competition at the beach and this is the first time we are not chaperoning her.   If you told us two years ago that we’d allow our 12 year old daughter to go on a weekend trip without one of us tagging along we’d have thought you were crazy and there would be no way we’d allow that.

But we’re staying home this weekend and we’re doing this for two reasons – 1) Our daughter asked us to let her make this trip on her own and 2) We agreed that she was mature enough to take this next step.

And don’t think that I’m some cool, hip father who is comfortable letting my kids be free spirits.  I’m not!

When my daughter was born I was the typical doting father who was very protective of my little princess.  I hovered over people who wanted to hold her and made sure they sanitized their hands before they touched her.  I cried like a baby when we first dropped her off at daycare when she was 3 months old and I remained stressed about leaving her at daycare until 3 years later (once our son was born) when my wife quit her civil engineering job to become a stay-at-home mom.

How did I get to this point?  How can I watch her leave the house for a weekend and not break down?

Because of the parental calluses I have received over the years from:

Wiping away my tears after watching her get wheeled into surgery as a baby,

Dropping her off at daycare for the first 3 years of her life,

Driving her to spend a week with the grandparents every summer,

Watching her walk into the middle school gym for a Friday night dance,

Rushing her to the hospital after she broke her arm and

Waving goodbye as my wife and I leave her home to babysit our son so that we can have a date night.

All of those events (and countless others I can’t remember) slowly, over time, built up calluses that allow me, as a parent, to reach the next level.  It’s not that I don’t care but more that I’ve lived through prior stressful situations and seen my daughter come through the other side as a stronger and more mature girl who is on her way to becoming a woman.   I had to live through those experiences to gain the wisdom to make the tougher choices now.

I’ll be honest; right now the thought of my daughter pulling out of the driveway in her car to go pick her friends up on a Saturday night turns my stomach to the point where I want to vomit.   And dropping her off at college?  I don’t want to think about it.

But based on what I’ve seen and experienced over the past 12 years, I know that when the time comes for those major life events I’ll have thicker calluses on my parenting hands that’ll allow me to smile and be proud that she has embraced the next steps she must take to become a woman.

A couple of years ago, the thought of letting my daughter go out of town for the weekend without either of her parents going with her would’ve kept me up at night.  But now I’m happy for her.  I’m proud that she feels confident enough to WANT to do this on her own.  Will I pray like crazy that God protects her this weekend?  Heck yea.  Will I sleep well this weekend?  Heck yea.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

CBO Report Margin Of Error Is 100%

BREAKING – It is very difficult to model the world’s largest economy.

I get it, Macroeconomics is hard.  It’s hard not only because of the math and statistics but it’s hard because Macroeconomic models must attempt to model one of the most difficult variables – human decisions.  These models are routinely asked to predict how people will alter their saving and spending habits based on a tweak of a minor variable (like the minimum wage).  I doubt there is any group that can accurately do that but I’m quite certain that a research arm of our Federal Government has about a 0% chance of getting this part right.

So when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) asked the question – What would happen to US employment if we raised the minimum wage to $10.10? – We got this answer (emphasis mine):

Effects of the $10.10 Option on Employment and Income.  Once fully implemented in the second half of 2016, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent, CBO projects.  As with any such estimates, however, the actual losses could be smaller or larger; in CBO’s assessment, there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers (see Table 1).”

The 43 page CBO report basically says this – There’s a 67% probability that job losses will be in the range of 0 to 1 million 2 years after raising the minimum wage to $10.10.

Wow…..How much money did we spend to generate this report?

I’m no fan of raising the minimum wage ANY, never mind increasing it 39%.  I do believe that doing so would be very detrimental to the US economy and yes, we’ll lose tons of jobs.  So I agree with the CBO findings but I can’t bring myself to treat this report as some economic gospel.  Yes, let’s continue to hammer the Left when they attempt to push legislation to raise the minimum wage but using this CBO report as our only weapon is not the best strategy.  When someone makes a prediction and says that the margin of error is +/- 100% then I take that report with a huge boulder of salt.

Sidebar prediction from me that requires zero tax payer dollars and is just as accurate as this latest CBO report – On February 18th 2016, the high temperature in my city in South Carolina will be 50°F and there is a 67% chance the high temperature will be in the range of 0° F and 100° F.

I do, however, think this CBO report can teach us something very important – The Federal Government shouldn’t be tweaking variables in our economy in the hopes of manipulating its outcomes.

It’s a far wiser course of action to keep the Federal Government out of the economy as much as possible and let the “Invisible Hand” do its thing.  The Free Market is like a supercomputer that not only analyzes the variables in current macroeconomic models but it also has a way to accurately account for human emotion/decisions because these individual decisions are at the heart of the Free Market’s Invisible Hand.  Consumers making individual choices every day will cause the Invisible Hand to pick winners/losers, set prices for goods/services, make innovation more successful by determining what products get developed and set salaries for every job in every industry.

The Invisible Hand is like magic and best of all it doesn’t require any big spending stimulus bill or massive legislation bill that polarizes the nation.  We should get back to that, right?

Posted in economics, politics | 1 Comment

New Feature For TurboTax 2013

UPDATE (17-FEB-14) - Intuit VP of TurboTax offers clarification in comments section below.

I have been using TurboTax for the last 10 years to file my Federal and State taxes and I’ve been one of its biggest cheerleaders.

My dad taught me to do my taxes when I was in high school and it’s something I’ve done since but I hated the manual forms.  As my life got more complicated (having a family, buying/selling houses, investing in stocks, etc.) the forms got more intense and required more of my valuable time to complete.  But once I found TurboTax in 2004, this time of year was no longer looked on with dread and misery.  (Don’t get me wrong, as much as I love TurboTax, I’d prefer we dissolve the IRS, move to a Fair Tax system and eliminate the need to use TurboTax every year but that is a topic for another blog post).

This year was no different than the past 10 – TurboTax rolled out some nifty updates to make filing even easier and in just a couple of hours I had finished and e-filed my returns with no issues whatsoever.

TurboTax always has some extra features they tell you about once you’ve finished and as I was clicking through them I came upon this screen.

turbo tax obamacareHow lovely.  TurboTax is now shilling for Obamacare.

Needless to say, I didn’t click on the “start here” button.

This added ‘feature’ got me to wondering why TurboTax would do this.  They could have a totally altruistic (and financial) reason for doing this.  Obamacare is here, whether we like it or not, and TurboTax needs to educate their customers and provide a service that makes their product better than the other tax preparation alternatives.

But there may be another reason.  TurboTax software is developed by Intuit and here is a list of their political activity (Notice who they gave the most money to):

intuit political contributionsIntuit’s largest recipient of their political donations was Barack Obama.  When you’ve donated butt loads of cash to this guy you need to make sure his signature piece of legislation is a success so it’s good to see Intuit is helping The One boost enrollment to this disaster.

Posted in politics | 2 Comments

How Leftists Argue

After the recent UAW pummeling in Tennessee, Leftists have an extreme case of #Butthurt and they are taking to Twitter and demonstrating the 3 step arguing technique they always follow:

1)      Lie

2)      Shift and

3)      Vile Tweet

Before I give you an example of this arguing technique, let’s make sure you understand just how bad this defeat was for the UAW.

“The election was also extraordinary because Volkswagen choose to cooperate closely with the UAW. Volkswagen allowed UAW organizers to campaign inside the factory—a step rarely seen in this or other industries.”

“This is like an alternate universe where everything is turned upside down,” said Cliff Hammond, a labor lawyer at Nemeth Law PC in Detroit, who represents management clients but previously worked at the Service Employees International Union. “Usually, companies fight” union drives, he added.

And from the Labor Union Report post:

“The union reportedly dispatched 20 organizers into the plant. They wore black UAW t-shirts and were given access to employees on company-paid time, company offices, access to break areas and lunch rooms.”

“With so many people roaming through their plant, some employees complained it felt like they were “on lockdown.”

“The black-shirted UAW organizers were allowed to stay in the plant all the way up to 11:59 pm on the even of Wednesday’s vote.”

So to sum up – The VW management supported the UAW and encouraged its employees to vote FOR the union.  As if that wasn’t enough, the UAW was also given unprecedented access INSIDE the plant leading up to the vote.  And they still lost!

Now on to the #Butthurt.

Lie:

 
No, you would not be happy with any union vote that didn’t result in the formation of a union and we all know that.  Senator Corker makes a statement claiming VW would send more jobs to Tennessee if the UAW was defeated  and that is what the Left is calling ‘intimidation’ or something?

That is laughable.  Unions, who may not have invented voter intimidation but they damn well perfected it, are now claiming they were intimidated by the comments of a Senator.  Forget about the dozens of Outsider UAW goons roaming the halls of the VW facility leading up to the election.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Shift:

Now the Leftist wants to shift the argument to how the UAW has been great for other automotive companies.  Don’t ever take this bait from the Left but instead continue reminding them that they lost…..again.

Vile tweet:

This is the way it always ends with Leftists on twitter and this is always followed by a Block or Spam report.

This is why it’s useless to engage in a sensible debate with them.  You’d have better luck teaching a dog how to solve a Rubik’s cube.

Just enjoy the sweet taste of their tears…..There will be many more this year.

Posted in politics, unionthugs | 1 Comment

Save The Earth, Stop Breathing!

CO2 vs populationIf you selfish people would just stop breathing so much we could bring down CO2 levels and stabilize the climate!

The science is settled.

Posted in Climate Change | 1 Comment

Is NPR Becoming Pro 2nd Amendment?

Not likely but sometimes the most interesting parts of an NPR story don’t make it to their web page version.

There was an NPR story investigating how guns in Vermont are becoming a currency to be used to purchase illegal drugs.  The story is an interesting one to read but I was more interested in Taylor Dobbs’ introduction that can be found on the transcript:

“Vermont has a long history of hunting and other shooting sports and one of the lowest rates of violent crime in the nation. And there are no state level restrictions on gun ownership.”

Did you catch that?  Very little gun control = lowest rates of violent crime in the nation.  Sounds like a statistic you’d hear from an pro 2nd Amendment conservative!  Is NPR changing their gun grabbing stance?  Not a chance.

You’ll notice from the web version of the story (here) that this introduction was scrubbed.

The State Run Media censors didn’t react quick enough to prevent the audio of that opening FACT getting aired, but they did have time to make sure this pro 2nd Amendment propaganda didn’t make it to their website.

Posted in npr, politics | Leave a comment