Mike from Breaking Bad in 1974 Educational Menstruation Video

Jonathan Banks, better known as Mike the Hitman from Breaking Bad, plays an awkward teenage boy in this sometimes creepy and sometimes sexist period PSA from almost 40 years ago.

^screenshot creepy doctor, not Mike.

“I got my first period today.”

“So what’s the big deal?”

“It means that blood is flowing out of my uterus!”

“Oh.” Mike looks confused and disgusted.

Later, when swimming plans go awry do to a thunderstorm, Johnny (Mike) asks his girlfriend with all earnestness (10:16), “Do you think your period could be causing the rain?”

Hilarious video. Ah, high school in the 70s. Ah, Mike from Breaking Bad.

Fun fact:  Aaron Paul, otherwise known as Jesse Pinkman, was cast as that rebellious punk kid in 90s cereal commercials.



E-harmony cat lover video not real, an actress

The viral e-harmony cat lover youtube video sparked an internet debate about the girl featured in the “bio”: Is it real or not real?

Comments on the video tend to leans towards no. The two main giveaways is that the girl presents herself as “Debbie,” but the account username under which the video is posted is hartmanncara. Lack of wetness and red eyes indicate the crying is fake, although webcam quality always makes it hard to tell.

Alas, the hilarious cat lover is an actress. Her name is Cara Hartmann. She apparently also had a video mimicing Stephen Hawking singing a Katy Perry song that “has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting hate speech.” Here is her facebook fan page.

Fact Checking “ObamaCare Yay Or Nay? The Truth About Canada!”

This is response to the following youtube video with over a half million hits:

The video was hosted by the annoying, stand-up comedian and FoxNews commentator, Steven Crowder, for Tea Party movement pimp PJTV.

In addition to being not funny and having obnoxious amounts of dude-man-bro-awesome Dane Cook frat boy, there’s a lot of the “truth” in the video about health care in Canada that’s just anecdotal stylization about waiting.

00:06  “Socialized Health Care!  Isn’t it about time we get on board?”  First words of the video, followed by clips of people talking about universal health care.  I’m going to make probably the most relevant point of the entire America-Canada health care system debate:  Canada does not have a socialized health care system.  They have a public INSURANCE system, and private insurance and health care providers also exist.  

“Socialized Medicine” has sketchy semantic connotations, but generally refers to a health care program run by the government. In the United Kingdom’s publicly- funded National Health Service, most general practitioners are independent contractors, which means that they are self-employed but also have a contract with the government to provide specific services on certain terms.  Even the more left-wing proposed legislation (not ObamaCare) in the US, which seeks to establish universal government-backed insurance, does not reach the government involvement of UK’s NHS levels.

Conservatives have recently been attempting to label any publicly-funded (tax payer-funded) system, including insurance, as “socialized medicine.”  But with that definition, the United States already has socialized medicine; it’s called Medicare.  Medicare is available to the disabled or retired, and it has higher satisfaction and performance rates as opposed to private insurance.

2:15  Steven and his homeboys go to the Clinique Médicale Urgence St-Hubert on a weekend but it’s closed. From all the French, we can establish they are in Quebec, Canada.   Funding for the health insurance is provided by the province, not directly from the federal government, so viewers should note Canadian quality may vary by province.

2:57  “Take a number.  The nurse will call with the number.” “Triage… which means we wait and get judged by a nurse.” (3:15)  They told the staff at the the hospital that they were not urgent.  In my experience, in private hospitals in the US, prioritizing by urgency works the same way.

4:24  Steve is denied a plastic glove to play with.  Tragic.  No rooster blow up doll for you.

5:05 They get tired of waiting at the hospital and leave.  With no accompanying footage, Steve tells anecdotal stories about other people in the waiting room.

7:25  They go back to the clinic the next day and the clinician tells them that they don’t offer cholesterol blood tests.  That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.  There’s no point in getting your cholesterol checked by a walk-in clinic, because you should go to primary doctor for a chronic condition.

8:01 The clinician says that it’s $900 for a private clinic check up.  What?!  That’s about $937 US dollars.  That figure doesn’t make sense.  The woman’s English was clearly not fluent.  There are private clinics that offer MRIs for only $695.

15:22  “The average wait time to see a specialist in Canada is 17.3 weeks.”  He didn’t cite a source for that figure, or how it was calculated, if it included outliers.  Here’s a study that says 51% of Quebec patients waiting to see a specialist do so within a month.

16:05 “It’s proven to be terribly inefficient.”  Using what standard?  Certainly not cost.  The per capita health care spending of Canada is nearly half that of the United States.

17:05 “Socialism creates a safety net…”  Followed up by footage from a Subway.  Canadian sandwich shops are Socialist because they cost more?  I think I missed the sandwich-standard definition of Socialism in school.

19:58 “Do you still think Obama is moving us in the right direction here?”  Thanks, Steve, for actually talking about ObamaCare anywhere in the video.

Most parts of the video I didn’t address were just a series of medical horror stories from random interviewed Canadians.  You can find stories like that anywhere about any health care system.

Recap:  Canada is not Socialist.  Health care in Canada sucks, but health care in America still sucks more.  Everyone wants free, efficient doctors.  No one still knows anything about ObamaCare.  And Steven Crowder is about as funny as Dane Cook and Michelle Bachman’s lovechild.

Fact Checking The National Inflation Association And its Hyperinflation Fear-Mongering.

This is a response to this youtube video with over a half million hits, posted by the mysterious The National Inflation Association:


First off, it’s always good to ask who is funding the organization and the video production.   From their website http://inflation.us/ (Ooh,  dot us. Flashy domain name. Very patriotic.) I can’t say for sure.

But here’s a good guess:

“One of our missions at the National Inflation Association is to discover and profile companies that we believe will prosper in an inflationary environment. Typically we will bring to you producing, profitable, Gold and Silver companies with strong balance sheets. We believe these stocks have a chance of becoming some of the best performers of the next decade.”  Most of their 22 companies on their stocks page are gold or silver companies.

Now I’m not going to bash Gold and Silver as a means to hedge long-term financial risk, because I’m not an economist.  But here’s an article that does:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-schram/is-gold-a-good-inflation_b_443927.html “Gold does not generate cash flow (indeed it has a carrying cost for storage, insurance etc.) and does not have any intrinsic value, and therefore it is of dubious value as a long term investment.”  The same thing that gives gold its value, faith, is the same thing that gives money its value.  Makes sense to me.

Onward to the youtube video.


I’m not going to fact check all the numbers, but a lot of the statistics in the video seem to be reasonable.  The video also cites some legitimate facts about the financial crisis and legitimate concerns about the US’s ability to pay for impending SS and Medicare.  But there are a lot of interpretations of these statistics and facts that are misleading, fear-mongering, and just plain wrong.

9:45  “The average American might have to eat less and stop air conditioning and heating their home just to afford gas for their car.”

I like the word ‘might’.  And aren’t we obese and energy-hungry anyway?   Doesn’t a third to a half of our food go into the garbage and not into our mouths and out our ass?   Maybe we shouldn’t have killed the electric car, before the lithium ion battery took off.

10:40  Peter “Dr. Doom” Schiff calls Social Security a Ponzi scheme.

While there are parallels between the concepts, it’s not fundamentally true, because technological advancements have exponentially increased economic output over the last century.   According to Michael Mandel of Business Week:   “The U.S. population has more than tripled since the early 1900s, while the U.S. economic output has gone up by more than 20 times… Assuming that technological progress continues over the next 70 years, and output productivity growth continues over the next 70 years, the finances of Social Security are relatively easy to fix. A fairly minor cut in benefits, combined with a relatively small increase in taxes, will bring the system back into balance again. (the latest Social Security report projects a 75-year deficit of $4.3 trillion. That sounds like a lot of money, but over 75 years it’s roughly $60 billion a year…not chicken feed, but not overwhelming).“

13:18  “The only way our economy can truly recover [from the crisis caused by trillion dollar deficit] is for the government to dramatically slash spending across the board and eliminate unnecessary departments like the Department of Energy… and the Department of Education.”

The video tries to link the rise in private tuition costs to the rise in Dept of Ed. Spending.  I don’t get it.  It also fails to mention that the Dept. of Ed only has 5,000 employees and that most of the increase in spending was because of Bush’s No Child Left Behind.  And Dept of Energy?  Um, isn’t the one that deals with our nuclear waste?

15:42  They try to bash breastfeeding protection laws.  Fail.

16:55  They claim a Republican administration would have supported the health care bill.  Um, no?  From what I remember, the health care bill had to go through extensive Senate reconciliation after the Dems lost their supermajority with Massachusetts.

24:15 “We conservatively believe the real rate of inflation to be 3-4% higher than what is indicated by the CPI.”  Thanks for giving us the formula for how you calculated that.

25:34 Suggestion for fed funds rate to increase to 5.31%  Again, no math evidence.


I skimmed through the next 10 minutes. It was Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold.

37:45  Selective statistics about debt.  You can see the full debt story in chart form here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms

Post-WWII our deficit was briefly over 100% relative to GDP.   In the last 30 years, it went up with Reagan and HW Bush and lowered with Clinton.  Obama inherited an 83.4% rate from Bush and it is currently rising.

42:10  The video suggests we “go back to our roots” to fix our economy.  I love 12 hour work days, child labor, sub-minimum wage, and sweatshops.

The rest of the movie was more OMG DEFICIT and Gold Gold Gold Gold Gold.

50:15  I love how the movie links inflation to the “destruction of family values.”  Inflation will soon make a $20 bill worth more as an implement to snort coke out of a hookers ass than its value!

50:38  Somehow the government is “transferring money to Wall Street through inflation.”  Really? I thought it was the deregulation (by the ironically Democratic senate) in the late 90s and early 2000s causing Wall Street to systematically restructure itself into unsustainable pyramid schemes.

The entire movie seems to forget a basic Econ lesson:  Businesses don’t look at national debt and think, “Let’s raise prices!”  Growing economies and demand make prices go up.  A recession—like what’s happening now—makes selling stuff harder, so prices go down.  That’s why inflation is down.

The deficit needs to take a backseat right now to the higher goal of economic growth.  And it’s noteworthy that we borrow from China because they have relatively low lending rates.  Really, what’s China going to do; invade us if we default?  The US and China are economically co-dependent, which is not a great place to be, but safe for the moment.  Right now the Obama administration is attempting to do what it needs to do, focusing on unemployment and GDP growth.  Whether it’s succeeding or not is another post for another day.

[edit]: I wrote a Follow Up Post in response to some of the comments on this page.  Less Sarcasm.  More go suck it, Austrian school of economics:  https://scandalousmuffin.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/nia-article-comment-reax/