Getting insurance companies to play fair

In a regime, in which people are supposed to be self-reliant and to take responsibility over their lives, insurance companies have a critical role.  A responsible person would pay premiums so that any calamity, which he cannot handle by himself, will be handled instead by the insurance company.  So that the person would not become burden on the public.

Unfortunately, in pseudo-capitalistic oligrachic regimes, insurance companies tend to emphasize their profits over security for the insured.  So a strong mechanism to keep them honest is needed.  The following proposal addresses this issue.

A proposal for billionaires who wish to contribute to the community without supporting parasites:

Start a foundation which helps insured people, who were screwed by the insurance companies.
The foundation will work as follows.

  1. The insured will provide documents – the insurance policy, all documents he gave the insurance company to get the insurance money due to the event insured against, and documents attesting to the fact that the insurance company rejected his claim due to unjustified reason.
  2. The foundation will check the documents and verify that everything is correct.
  3. If all is correct, the foundation will pay the insured the money that the insurance company was supposed to pay him. The insured will sign a commitment to reimburse the foundation any monies he gets from the insurance company due to compromise, court proceedings, or thanks to a manager’s golden heart.
  4. The foundation will sue in the insured’s name the insurance company and bring to the court its heavy guns (high caliber lawyers).

The billionaire’s donation is needed for running capital and to cover claims in which the court found for the insurance company.

License for drunk driving?

It is well known that each driver is affected differently by the same blood concentration of alcohol.  One driver may still be safe driver even with high blood alcohol concentration, whereas another driver may lose all ability to drive during the first hour after imbibing a drop of red wine.

Nevertheless, the Israeli law (and also in some other countries) prescribes a fixed limit for blood alcohol concentration under whose influence, driving is still legal.

I suggest that people, who so choose, submit to a reaction time under influence test.  Their reaction time will be measured without alcohol, then they’ll drink alcohol, and during the first few hours after having gotten drunk, their blood alcohol concentration and their reaction times are to be measured frequently.

There can be extra charge for this test, in addition to the standard driving test required to get a driving license.

From the test results, a figure of safe alcohol concentration for driving will be derived and stamped in their driving license.  They will also be informed about their actual alcohol metabolism rate, to help them plan their drinking activities.

The present alcohol concentration limit prescribed by law will henceforth be the default alcohol concentration limit for people, who choose not to undergo the optional reaction time testing as well as people who are not allowed to drink for the reaction time test due to their being under age.

 תרגום לעברית נוסף בתאריך 1.1.2011:

כידוע, כל נהג מושפע בצורה שונה מאותו ריכוז אלכוהול בדם.  נהג אחד עשוי להיות נהג זהיר גם בריכוז גבוה של אלכוהול בדם, בעוד שנהג אחר יאבד כל יכולת נהיגה בשעה הראשונה לאחר שתיית טיפת יין אדום.

למרות זאת, החוק בישראל (וגם בכמה ארצות אחרות) מגדיר ערך גבול קבוע לריכוז האלכוהול בדם, שמתחת לו עדיין מותר לנהוג.

אני מציע, שנהגים שיבחרו בכך, יעברו מבחן זמן תגובה תחת השפעת אלכוהול. זמן התגובה שלהם יימדד בלי אלכוהול, ואז ישתו אלכוהול, ובמשך השעות הראשונות לאחר ששתו, ריכוז האלכוהול בדמם וזמני התגובה שלהם יימדדו לעתים קרובות.

ניתן לגבות תשלום נוסף עבור המבחן, בנוסף למבחן הנהיגה הסטנדרטי הנדרש לקבלת רשיון נהיגה.

מתוצאות המבחן, יחושב ריכוז האלכוהול שעדיין בטוח לנהיגה ויוטבע ברשיון הנהיגה שלהם. יוסבר להם גם קצב המטבוליזם של האלכוהול בגופם בפועל, כדי לסייע להם לתכנן את פעילויות השתיה שלהם.

גבול הריכוז הנקבע כיום על ידי החוק יהיה מעכשיו והלאה ברירת המחדל לריכוז אלכוהול עבור אותם נהגים שיבחרו לא לעבור את מבחן זמן התגובה וגם עבור אלה שאינם רשאים לשתות לצורך מבחן זמן התגובה בגלל היותם צעירים מגיל השתייה החוקי.

American Jews are worried due to the recent conversions scandal

Recently an American Jew asked me the following question, in view of the news concerning recognition of conversions into Judaism carried out in the Israeli army (IDF):

Hey, let me ask you something. My wife told me that Israel is in the middle of redefining who is a Jew, and that Reform/secular/assimilated people like me wouldn’t be considered Jews any more. Is that going to affect the Law of Return?

My reply to him was:

The law of return won’t be affected, but ability to marry in Israel will be affected, because the Chief Rabbinate has legal monopoly over marriages of Jews (corresponding bodies have monopolies over Christians, Moslems and Druze) and the scandal over recognition of conversions into Judaism (the actual subject worrying your wife) is relevant to getting recognized as Jews by the Chief Rabbinate.

People, who cannot marry in Israel, usually fly to Cyprus to get married there, and then their marriage is recognized in Israel.  I have a cousin, who married in Cyprus, just because she was disgusted by the Chief Rabbinate.

The Law of Return explicitly covers non-Jews – if they have Jewish relatives (one Jewish grandparent or a Jewish spouse is enough).

As things look like, few years from now, civil marriages will be possible in Israel, because the group of people, covered by the Law of Return yet cannot marry in Israel, is growing each year (most of them are immigrants from the former Soviet Union and their descendants).

Richard Goldstone – strict judge and serious responder

Yesterday, Yediot Ahronot publicized in its “7 Days” Friday supplement an article about the sordid past of Richard Goldstone, who condemned Israel for its war law violations during the Cast Lead operation in Gaza Strip.

To his credit, Goldstone was serious about responding to the allegations made in the article.  To the newspsper’s credit, they were serious about giving him the time to put together a comprehensive response.  Goldstone seems to have acknowledged the right of the newspaper to investigate his past, and was serious about responding to the allegations without evasions or refusal to respond to embarrassing points.

Assuming the correctness of the facts in his response and in the declaration, which he enclosed with his response, he is not to be faulted for what he did as judge in the Apartheid regime.  If Nelson Mandela and his people did not condemn Richard Goldstone, it says a lot about him.

Of course, Goldstone’s report about IDF’s behavior in Cast Lead operation is not equitable.  However it is because the law, as it is applied in this case, is not equitable. Goldstone should have added to his report also recommendations for changing the relevant international law so that it is equitable also toward democratic governments having to protect their citizens from bloodthirsty terrorists.

Legal outlet for one’s desires

In the wake of the Rav Moti Alon scandal, I reach the conclusion that homosexual Jewish rabbis and Moslem religious leaders are in the same risk category as Catholic priests.  The common difficulty, which all of them encounter is the lack of a legal (from their religion’s perspective) means to satisfy their desires.

A most brilliant political protest by means of domain hijacking

After 2nd Lebanon War at Jul-August 2006, the government of Israel set up a committee of inquiry – the Winograd Committee.  A domain has been registered in behalf of this committee – (the contents are in Hebrew).

Fast forward three years.  The Israeli government is trying to build a biometric database with data about all Israeli citizens, and concerned people are protesting this plan.  The strongest argument against the database is the risk of data leak, which may lead to rather adverse consequences.

To prove that the government does not know to protect its digital assets, the above domain was hijacked when its registration expired because someone in the government forgot to renew the domain registration.  The Website now contains a statement against the biometric database.

Copyfree vs. Copyright/Copyleft

The other day I stumbled upon the Website, which advocates a software licensing model somewhat similar to LGPL.
See the Website for arguments in favor of this licensing model.

I would, however, stick with GPL/LGPL due to the following reasons:

  1. The world has some actors (such as the one whose name starts with M and ends with T) with monopolistic intentions. Copyfree is not strong enough to stop them. GPL (especially its v3) is essential to limit the effects of such actors.
  2. Some software developers are not altruistic philanthropists. They expect to be compensated for their software development work. In the case of software which scratches their own itches, an acceptable form of compensation would be enhancements to the software, which fix bugs and – more interestingly – add new features. When wielded by such developers, GPL/LGPL are used much as traditional copyright law is used by creators to get compensated for their creations.
  3. In the special case of security software, which should be used by everyone, exemptions can be made on case by case basis. The reasoning is much the same as the one which led USA to release to USSR, in midst of the Cold War, certain technologies for securing atom bombs against accidental detonation. And those were days, in which people were executed for releasing nuclear secrets to the wrong parties (witness the Rosenbergs affair).

Abortions, no questions asked

The current law in Israel is that women are not automatically entitled to have abortions.  They must apply for approval by a committee.  Unmarried women and women below and above certain range of ages get automatic approval.  Married women are allowed to have abortion only if there is a medical or another legally recognized reason for this.

In the wake of the recent tragedies, in which 4 year old children were murdered by their mothers and/or grandfathers, the politicians are clamoring for something to be done.  A plan was indeed put together to improve monitoring of families having children at those ages.

May I suggest another solution to the problem: allow any pregnant woman, regardless of her marital, health or sociological status, to have an abortion, no questions asked, if she does not feel like having the baby.  Since the goal is that only women, who really want babies, would have them, there should be no stigma attached to having an abortion.  At least not beyond the existing stigma of not wanting to have children.

Abortion is better than killing a child or raising him, like an unwanted child, to be a criminal.

Do they really log *everything* going on in their lives?

Gordon Bell has captured a lifetime’s worth of articles, books, cards, CDs, letters, memos, papers, photos, pictures, presentations, home movies, videotaped lectures, and voice recordings and stored them digitally. Phil Libin does something somewhat similar.

When I read about them, I wonder about the times they do something not accordance with law and norms prevailing around them, such as going to call girls, smoking marijuana, shoplifting, meeting with one’s employer’s competitors, having a luscious phone call with one’s mistress, wanking in public restroom, getting a syphilis treatment, farting, peeping into forbidden windows, eating food forbidden by one’s religion, reading subversive books, etc.

The Israeli police will turn hearing aids into a popular fashion

For me personally, this is not a rant, because I use neither hearing aids nor MP3 players.

Recently, the Israeli police began issuing citations to people, who cross roads while listening to music using MP3 players.

The news item about this subject (written in Hebrew) has several talkbacks asking what about deaf people, how will the policemen tell hearing aids apart from MP3 players, and generally complaining about the screwed up law enforcement priorities of the Israeli police.

One possible consequence of the new policy is that MP3 players, which look like hearing aids, and earpiece, which look like hearing aid earpieces, will become popular – as people will try to impersonate as hard of hearing in order to evade the 100 NIS fines associated with being cited for crossing a road while listening to music.

%d bloggers like this: