Printed letters, October 2, 2013

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Leany and Tisue are merely using the school board as a spring board to their perceived election to other office(s). Tisue wants desperately to privatize education.

Gary Yeager’s letter – “If Obamacare is so great, feds should sign up, too” – reflects continuing confusion about the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) and illustrates the dangers of endorsing simplistic solutions to complex problems.

The core purpose of the ACA is to make affordable health insurance available to those who do not already have it.

Because the federal government has “more than 50 full-time employees” and partially funds health insurance for its employees under the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the ACA – as originally drafted –  treated all federal employees (including Congressional Members and their staffs) just like employees of any large corporation that provided health insurance, i.e.,  they were ineligible to obtain health insurance from “ObamaCare” insurance exchanges.

In September 2009, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) – the same irresponsible “Tea Party” panderer who falsely alleged that the ACA contained “death panels” that could “pull the plug on Grandma” – injected an amendment (accepted by Democrats) which codified into “ObamaCare” the very sentiments Yeager expresses.

In fact, the so-called Grassley Amendment required Members of Congress and their staffs to obtain health insurance from ACA exchanges, but made no provision for premium payments.  Under the FEHBP, the government pays 72% of health insurance premiums, and that amount is included in gross compensation for calculating pension benefits.  In effect, as written, the Grassley Amendment could dramatically cut the pay of current staffers and reduce pension benefits earned by long-serving public servants.

While Grassley’s Amendment could have restricted itself to Members of Congress only (not staffs), it didn’t.  Consequently, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has promulgated rules which treat Congressional offices as small businesses (fewer the 50 employees), and requires each Congressman and Senator to determine which of their staffers will remain eligible for FEHBP and which must use subsidized exchanges.

Raphael is a person that evidently did not get to enjoy science in school. But I’ll try to help him a bit. Heat is energy. Heat flows from an high energy location to a lower energy location. That energy is transferred by 3 means:
1. Conduction through an interconnected medium.
2. Radiation which is energy transfer that occurs without a medium being necessary.
3. Convective circulation.
But common sense does not just “tell us that heat goes up and out”. That is an observation of a particular heat transfer following the stated laws of heat transfer and thermodynamics. Burning wood in a pellet stove is an example of a system doing that. Combustion of pellets creates hot gases that heat the stove box. The stove box conducts heat to the outside metal of the stove. That hot surface puts heat in the room by Convective circulation of air heated by conducted heat to the metal now conducted to the air. The metal box also heats the room and anybody standing in the room by radiation. The closer one is to the source the greater is the intensity of energy received. The heated waste gas of the combustion is lighter than the incoming air replacing it and buoyantly (but oft aided by a fan) rises up a flue pipe and out to the colder outside air. Hence, common sense is fed by an observation of “up and out”. What was overlooked was all the subsystems that heated the house interior and you in three ways.
Now the earth is providing heat from its’ molten core, but the conduction path is resistive because of poor conducting materials. So without receiving solar (sun) radiation, the earth would freeze as outer planets have from being so far out. So our atmosphere and oceans form convective currents and circulate heat energy from solar radiation heat energy. Some of that solar heat is reflected and that forms a “thermostat” effect. The earth can and has frozen completely because the reflective snow and ice became too much and continued to completely cover the earth. Continental drift and extreme volcanism is believed to reshaped ocean currents and added gases to the atmosphere to assist in melting the ice until a cyclic rhythm was again established.
But adding gases, CO2 and Methane, to the atmosphere causes a retention of solar heat, that in turn melts more ice an snow and the earth becomes even less reflective. Heat is removed from the water melting sea ice, so more heat of the radiation goes to the colder body and so does heat from the air. As the oceans warm more closer to atmosphere temperatures, then the heat starts going to both air and ocean. The two are not in synchronization all the time.  That air was not “getting cooler”, it had just slowed greatly on its’ increase to be deemed “within seasonal natural variations” and climate change opponents seized that to blow their propaganda.
Now Raphael, does that help your common sense feeling adjust to what you are seeing and hearing of complex thermodynamic interacting systems?

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