Are you against Healthcare Reform? Snow White and I were on a trip and I listened to satellite radio most of the time in the car. The topic on all of the news stations was Health Care. Alan Colmes was interesting because he accused the protesters of being uncivil because they shout down their opponents then he proceeded to shout down any caller who disagreed. I spoke with a friend of mine who runs a business. Previously, he said that when his taxes get raised, he’s going to let some employees go because he’s not going to make less money. Perhaps a real-life example of true consequences. Anyway, we were discussing the health care plan and he pointed out that the president says that you can keep your health care coverage if you like it. But, he will be offered an incentive to cancel his coverage for his employees. If he does not offer health care, then he simply pays a 10% fee, which is cheaper to him than covering his employees. So, there will be a number of companies that will end that benefit to save on the bottom line and force their employees into the public option. There are those that say page 16 of the plan says that you can keep your coverage but the insurance companies cannot sign up any new people to that plan. Thus, eventually there will be no one with that coverage and any new employees will be forced into the public option. You can read HR Bill 3200 here to draw your own conclusion. Then there is the argument that President Obama created when he pointed out how well FedEx and UPS do in competing with the US Postal Service. First off, it shows and government operation that does more poorly than the private sector so why would we expect health care to be done better by the government. Further, it also illustrates that the government can operate at a loss and still stay in business which means that the government has an unfair competitive advantage over the private sector that cannot stay in business if it loses money year after year.
But, this raises the question of whether it is right to call someone un-American or label them against health care reform just because they don’t like this particular bill or the proposals of others. Many people suggest that they agree that there needs to be reform, but they would favor Tort Reform and removal of prevention of availability of health care plans between states. The argument is that it would lower costs and create more competition which would lower costs. As it is now, you can’t go to another state for coverage like you can with auto insurance and there is no provision for tort reform in the current bill. Still others say that if you want government health care, it should just be for those who are unemployed or do not have access to health care and that is all. If someone is against this bill, does that mean that they are against health care reform? With all of the tumult, why not send Congress back to the drawing board to come up with a plan that is more popular with more people?
Dr. William Gray and Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University revised their predictions for the 2009 Hurricane Season downward again, which is not suprising since an El Nino developed a few months ago. When there is an El Nino, the Atlantic tends to have more frequent periods of strong westerly upper level winds that are hostile to tropical cyclone development and maintanance. In my mind though, the latest prediction remains pretty aggressive considering that as of this writing, there has not been a single named tropical cyclone. Nevertheless, the Colorado State tropical weather experts forecast 11 named storms with 5 of those storms becoming hurricanes. They say that this is below average, yet up to a few years ago, the average was something like 10 storms and 6 hurricanes. I suppose the increased activity of the past several years has raised the average. The National Hurricane Center also revised their forecast downward and calls for a 50-50 chance of a near normal season. Really going out on a limb. They have a 40% probability than fewer than average storms in the North Atlantic.
Still, there have been no named storms in the North Atlantic and we’re heading into the heart of the Hurricane Center. In my mind, it is not surprising that the forecast was revised downward, but that it wasn’t lower than it was initially and that it continues to be as high as it is.
Anyway, the past week is probably the most active time we’ve seen all year. There have been a couple of strong tropical waves coming off of Africa and there are a few areas of disturbed weather in the Caribbean. The two waves have the best potential. The first is the second tropical depression of the season. The general direction forecast by a majority of the models is for this guy to move west northwest and then eventually curve into the Central Atlantic. There is probably a better chance for it to affect Bermuda than it is the United States. The second one (Invest 90) has a forecast track that is more westerly and may be more of a threat. In both cases, the majority of the models make them tropical storms with a few outliers calling for hurricane development down the road. The others in the Caribbean probably won’t pose much of a problem as conditions aren’t too good, but they bear watching.
Weather Bottom Line: The front is way to our south and will stay there. Look for dry conditions with warm afternoons in the upper 80′s and lows fairly comfortable in the 60′s with relatively low humidity. We should slowly become more uncomfortable as we head into the weekend with increasing humidity.