The Importance of Indirect Costs to Universities, Hospitals, and Non-profits

The importance of indirect costs to Universities, Hospitals, and Non-profits

The NIH 2018 budget was cut 18% for research by claiming that there was a lot of fraud in University use of the funds, justifying the drastic cut of indirect costs from 30% down to 10%.  We will see that the justified indirect costs range in the 30% level, and cannot seriously be cut without damaging the Universities.  The industry indirect cost rate was claimed to be 10%, but for non-profits, it was much higher than the Universities rate.

The University researchers us graduate students, who work for a fraction of what industry workers get paid.  They are also trained in classes and on the job, lowering their starting salaries from what industry must pay their already trained workers.  The faculty is mostly paid for by the University.  If a 9-month faculty gets 2 months’ salary on the grant, then only 2/11 or 22% of their salary is paid for by the grant.  For non-profits, their whole salary can be on the grant.

Nature Magazine did a survey of 2013 indirect cost data that was reported on by Heidi Ledford on Nov. 19, 2014.  That contrasted the average negotiated rate of 53%, with the later justified average reimbursed rate of 34%, across Universities, Hospitals, and non-profits.  The average reimbursed rate for Universities was 31%, for Non-profits 38%, and for Hospitals, 38%.  We see that Universities had the lowest rate among the three.

Using the Stanford case, for every contract dollar, 31 cents went to indirect costs, consisting of 15 cents administration support, 7 cents for facilities, 1 cent for equipment, and 2 cents for libraries, among other costs.

The non-profits had negotiated rates in the range of 60-90 percent, with the average reimbursement of 38%.

In the NIH grants, the dollar amount is given to the awardee, and the added indirect costs are given to the university.

In NSF grants, the indirect costs come out of the award, which results in about 60% of the award going to the grantee.

Japan has established a flat rate for its indirect costs at 30%.   The European Union has adopted a flat rate of 25%.

In universities, the indirect costs, having many facets, are put into the general fund.  It is hard to point out that they are fraudulently used, since the university functions as a complex and highly efficient combination of education, training, and relatively inexpensive research.

The claim of a low indirect cost of 10% for industry seems to be a myth of the Trump administration Office of Management and Budget.  Their calling the 30% indirect cost for Universities as fraud, is an insult to all universities, and to those who dedicate their careers to them, and who invest their education years in them.

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Trump’s Challenges to Health Care, Medical Research, and Clean Air and Water

Trump’s Challenges to Health Care, Medical Research, and Clean Air and Water



I grew up with an old saying: “If you have your health, you have everything.” As I get older, I am finding more truth in that.

The Amazingly Destructive Trump Administration presents a multi-pronged destruction of the health care of poor Americans, of Medical research that will help all of us, of clean air that we all need to breath, and of clean water that we all need to drink.

The revised Republican ACHA healthcare act was passed in haste by the House, without a projection of its effects done by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office). The Senate was waiting for the CBO estimate before they started drafting their own plan. Now the CBO report is in. The new AHCA would drive 14 million currently covered Americans out of healthcare in a year, and wild drive out 24 million in a decade. This is on top of the 25 million Americans that still aren’t covered. This isn’t much different than the first AHCA which would have made the policies unaffordable to 23 million Americans. In the meantime, Trump is threatening to cut federal contributions to Medicaid, in order to force this act on us. The cuts in coverage are to cover about $600 billion in tax cuts.

Trump still will cut the EPA budget by over 30% to $5.7 billion. The Budget would also eliminate 23% of the agency’s 15,000 staff.

The data here on science cuts come from a Nature News article that is freely open to the public, and covers the science budgets.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would be cut a steep 18% in one year, from $31.8 billion in 2017 to $26 billion in 2018. This will be done by lowering the indirect costs of institutions that house the research, such as Universities and Hospitals. Somebody has to pick up those costs.

Fortunately, Congressmen did not give into such cuts in their 5-month completion of the 2017 budget. They also are promising not to give in for 2018. Why the administration did not adapt to what the Congress will pass in their more complete 2018 budget is not known. It certainly does not make the administration look good right now, even if they plan to compromise later.

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Trump as Labelist in Chief, and his Response to Terrorists

Trump as Labelist in Chief, and his Response to Terrorists  

Trump is convinced that giving people derogatory “labels” or “nicknames” will permanently embarrass them and defeat them.  Well, it got rid of his 17 opponents in the Republican primaries.  It then played a role in defeating “crooked Hilary”, and calling all others, ”losers”.  Since now Trump is being investigated for the campaign, for a coverup, for leaks, for interfering in investigations, and for ethics, he knows what effect the phrase “lock him or her up” can have.  This strategy worked in getting Trump elected, and in intimidating Congressmen in threatening to campaign against them in the next election.

Trump and Terrorist Labels

After a considered response of condolences to the aggrieved in the Manchester bombing, Trump had to “defeat” the terrorists by giving them the name “evil losers”, to shame them as well as condemn them.

Throughout the campaign, and up to the present, Trump had derided President Obama and Secretary Clinton for not solving the terrorist crises by simply repeating the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” over and over again.  Nobody wants the name of their lifelong and peaceful religion sandwiched between the words  “radical” and “terrorism”. 

While the art of Labelism is very useful for five-year-olds on the playground to shame rivals, and apparently in Presidential elections, it is not going to dissuade or shame die-hard terrorists.

Real responses would have been to offer all intelligence aid to Great Britain, and increase precautions at US events, especially with Ramadan coming on Friday and being a terrorist day of response, and calling a cabinet meeting for ideas.  The last thing that was needed was for the administration to leak the name of the terrorist before the British police wanted it being released, and possibly causing people to flee.

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The Budget Shows that Trump Hasn’t Gotten Religion from His Holy Pilgramage

The Budget Shows That Trump Hasn’t Gotten Religion from His Holy Pilgramage

Trump’s first official foreign tour of States and summits started with visits to the most holy cities that he can visit, Riyadh for Muslims, Jerusalem for Jewish and Christianity, and the Vatican, for Catholics. In Jerusalem Trump visited the wailing wall, the side of the Jewish temple. He also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, where Christ was buried. Next Trump goes to Bethlehem, where he will visit the Church of the Nativity, where Christ was born. Finally, he will go to the Vatican and St. Peter’s. I am not focusing on which current leaders he will meet there, but on the religious and Biblical importance of his pilgrimage. My hope is that Trump would find God, or Religion, or their best attitudes of empathy and caring.

In startling contrast, Trump left a budget behind, which is to be revealed in detail tomorrow. What we know so far is anything but empathetic and caring. The overall budget will be cut by $1.7 trillion over ten years. Presumably that will go to his “greatest tax cut ever”, which will relieve the super rich of their unbearable burdens. The cuts will still be mainly funded by cuts of $800 billion to Medicaid over ten years. People on Medicaid will be expected to work, if possible. This is only the first of the assaults on rights that people consider humane in developed countries of the world.

The next cuts are to the food programs, such as the SNAP food stamp program. The cuts would be $193 billion over 10 years, or 30% of the program. The program serves 42 million people. I’ll bet on this trip, Trump and his family are being treated to the best food the world has ever produced, anywhere, and over all time.

Well, Trump still has the Church of the Nativity, and St. Peter’s to go. And hopefully the Pope has more effect on Trump this time, since they crossed on the wall last time. Or, maybe Trump will just come home stealing the design of the Vatican Wall.

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Under the Pomp of Saudi Arabia, Some Disturbing Circumstances

Under the Pomp of Saudi Arabia, Some Disturbing Circumstances

While the covering press was worried about whether Ivanka and Melania would wear scarves, the home press was covering Trump’s Russiagate. This meant that some background of Trump’s administration and Saudi Arabia got out without much opinionating.

Let’s start with the $110 BILLION arms deal and the war in Yemen. Despite its justification, there are charges that the Saudi bombing is killing civilians. An old law said that arms, such as new planes, cannot be sold if they are going to violate international laws against killing civilians. First, Saudi Arabia claims they do not have many civilian casualties. However, the arms sale includes devices to improve bombing accuracy. While Trump, of course, takes credit for the arms sale, it was mostly worked out by the Obama administration.

We should mention that the gold medal and necklace awarded to Trump is a real emolument from a foreign power if he keeps it, so it should end up in the White House collection.

Now let’s skip ahead to the Extremist monitoring center just founded by Saudi Arabia. It was three sections of about 100 computers each, monitored by Saudis in identical white robes and gutrahs. Presumably they are monitoring internet posts or emails. It is also supposed to be an international monitoring facility.

So here’s the kicker. Saudi Arabia is estimated to have 30,000 political prisoners. That comes from prisoner facilities for 10,000, with an estimated three time overcrowding. The new extremist center can be used to hunt more political opposition to the Kingdom. Presumably the Saudis don’t have our Due Process provisions or Habeas Corpus, so they can have political prisoners. It could turn out to be embarrassing for President Trump if this center turns out to be more politically oriented than ISIS oriented. This is something like Trump proposed for monitoring Muslims in the US.

Next was the scheduled Twitter chat session on how to use Twitter to discourage extremist talk. Fortunately, Trump skipped this session and the very Saudi-popular Ivanka took that charge. Since Trump was one of the world’s greatest Twitter Islamophobes, which induces extremist backlash, it was wise for him to skip it.

Trump’s solution in his much awaited speech to over 50 Muslim countries was to kick extremists out of mosques, and then out of the countries, and then off the face of the earth. The last sounds like it violates due process. In the second, when kicked out of countries, they just go to fight for ISIS in Syria or in Iraq. If kicked out of mosques, the community has no chance to reeducate those who might turn extremist. At the stage for Trump’s talk was Ivanka and Jared. The Saudis well understand the importance of having your family run the government.

Clearly, I am not an expert on Saudi Arabia or Yemen, and the Saudi government denies all of the charges. So consider all of these charges as in dispute.

At the very start, the foreign ministers had a short introduction. The Saudi foreign minister said he was an old friend of Rex Tillerson from the days when Rex would visit as the CEO of ExxonMobil. Rex is also an awarded friend of Putin, working with him to start oil drilling in the Arctic seas. Rex is applying for an exception to sanctions against Russia to do this work. This administration cannot hide that it is being largely run by oil oligarchs and their industry’s interests.

All-in-all, the visit brought to surface a number of troubling characteristics of the two administrations.

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Who Made Trump the World’s Realtor in Chief?

Who Made Trump the World’s Realtor in Chief?

Since “America First” Trump has left on his first official State trip, we will discuss the meeting of his global Ego with the rest of the World. In Trump’s claims of greatness, he has almost always made his claims of superiority not just for the United States, but for the entire world. His Ego now covers all of history also, not just American history. So we will see how he also re-invisions history.

While today’s Trump headline seems distracting from this story, it concerns the relations and possible collusion with Russia. In the White House meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador Kislyak, “nut job” Trump said that he had fired “nut job” FBI Director Comey. He also seemed to say that the pressure was no longer not only not on Trump, but not on Russia as well. I had thought that is was very coincidental that Trump fired Comey a day before meeting with the Russians. It was almost like it was a precondition, at least in Trump’s mind. Trump said that he felt great pressure because of Russia. That can be taken taken as Russia was putting pressure on Trump.

Yesterday’s sub-headline was that his close colleagues were trying to open a backdoor to Kislyak or Putin, since Trump did not trust the US intelligence agency. The main headline was that the media and press were on the greatest witch hunt in the whole world over all of time.



Back to the “Realtor in Chief”, starting with Russia. During the Campaign, Trump gave away Crimea to Russia. He then also gave away Eastern Ukraine to Russia.  Putin is following Hitler in taking territory where the population speaks the aggressors’ language, in this case Russian. Crimea was 60% Russian and 40% native Tatars. There was not a fair or supervised vote as to whether the people in Crimea actually wanted to be taken by Russia. Trump’s assumption that Crimea belonged to Russia didn’t go far enough back in history. Crimea was given to Catherine the Great by the Ottoman Empire in 1783. The Tatars were forced to leave Crimea twice in their recent history.

Then the. “Realtor in Chief” was told in a short call with China that the Korean Peninsula belonged to China. Why Trump did not get briefed about Korean history by State or the National Security Administration at this late date is no longer a mystery. Trump does not trust our State Department or Security agencies. South Korea complained about that assault on their history and independence.

Trump hinted that NATO might not back Estonia, if they did not contribute their required 2% of their budget to NATO armaments. Actually they do. It is only the north-east of Estonia that is Russian speaking, with 24% of the total population, and a Russian population of 320,000.


Realtor in Chief Trump has jumped into the last touchy point of a two state solution for Israel and Palestine of the status of Jerusalem. Trump wants to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

We also just learned that son-in-law Jared Kushner is also the White Houses’ arms dealer, helping to arrange a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Trump will be giving a speech in Saudi Arabia about terrorism. Saudi Arabia was home to 15 of the 19 of the 9/11 hijackers, but was not put on the extreme vetting list of Arab countries by Trump.

Like most of the Trump Presidency, every day is a revelation of surprise policies, often ill advised ones. Expect more international surprises meeting with three religious states, and NATO and G7. Let’s see how many parts of the world that Trump gives away or claims during his trip.

Posted in Affairs of State, Donald Trump, FBI Director, Immigration Ban, Middle East, Russia, Travel Ban, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

Trump as Witch Hunter in Chief

Trump as Witch Hunter in Chief

I can’t possibly remember all of the witch hunting that Trump has done, but I can give some examples. Trump’s first targets are women. ”Lock Her Up” to Hillary Clinton. Also, her supposed role in Ben Ghazi. Then something Trump knew about Ted Cruz’s wife. Then something “disgusting” that Hillary was supposed to have done during a debate break. Then his threat to sue the dozen women who came forward with claims that Trump harassed them.

In Trump’s limiting it to politicians, let’s examine his record. Trump almost led the Obama is a foreigner, and that Obama is a Muslim. And Obama is a Socialist. Then Ted Cruz’s father had a role in the Kennedy assassination. Trump dropped his close backers Gov. Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani because they may have had a role in Bridgegate or colluding with the FBI or Russia, even if they were never indicted. Today, Trump dumped his colleagues, saying they may have had Russian contacts, but not Trump. Thousands in New Jersey cheered when the World Trade Center fell.

Now we look at Trump’s hallucinations on crowds. There were 3 to 5 million illegal immigrant voters that let Clinton win the popular vote. There were millions of people in the mall at his inauguration.

Then Trump shows usual paranoid monitoring feelings. That must be where Kellyanne got the microwave oven that was spying on Trump. Then there was the supposed bugging of Trump tower. I had one of these incidents myself. While replaying a Trump news conference, when Trump said Syria, Siri turned on. I tried saying Syria many times, and nothing happened. So Apple has Siri tracking Trump, no matter where he was.
Then there is Trump’s witch hunting by race or religion. All Mexican immigrants are rapists, drug dealers, and murderers in Trumpworld. All Muslim immigrants are terrorists. There can be no doubt that the Republican and Trump purge of all things Obama has to have a racial component since these things were done by our only Black President.

Finally, it was just revealed that Trump asked Comey to arrest journalists that published leaks.


Okay, that is enough exploration of a sick mind.

Posted in 2016 Election, 2016 Primaries, Clinton, Donald Trump, Immigration Ban, Kellyanne, Politics, Trump Wall | Leave a comment

Trump Topics in Short

Trump Topics in Short

Trump not taped before Russia visit, but probably Russia taped now.

Trump was upset over Clinton’s erasure of emails, but Trump gives no files to Congress.
VP citing Rod Rosenstein letter for reason Comey was fired on live TV next to the foyer of Congress.

President to Liberty University: take the lone, different path (and look at all the trouble it has gotten Trump into). Also do what you love. (Most students going for well paying areas. They didn’t start with a 100 million dollars.)

Drop FBI Director and international cyberattacks not directly met. No needed response from the President.

Who else is Trump silencing by blackmailing with his tapes?

Comey must know everything about Trump. Trump’s connections to all donors, appointees, foreign governments, and taxes. So Trump had to try shutting him up by threats of the tapes. Trump said he had tapes, plural. But Comey must have known about Trump’s taping in the first place.

Trump addressed police association, but his policies do not support the police. First, he signed law okaying gun sales to mentally incompetent people. Trump will do nothing about the registration loopholes. By Trump’s challenging sanctuary cities, people stop reporting crimes. By opposing Black Lives Matter, Trump creates anger in minority communities that then causes violence to police. Trump’s opposing judges and the rule of law, causes disrespect for the law and law enforcement.

Trump has tapes, but Comey has memos. Who will win?

So the leaks turned out to be about computers that were bombs. For weeks, every news channel and newspaper were talking about preventing computers in the passenger compartment, and now maybe aboard the airplane at all. You don’t think the Russians didn’t find this out from American television? It was only coded top secret until we found out everybody knew it anyway. How many decades have they been making us turn on our computers to make sure they were real computers? If Trump thought that was top secret, maybe our intelligence agencies have already stopped risking secrets with Trump.

For business travelers giving a talk, all you need is your flash drive, and you use a computer at the company you are going to. Or, you pick your talk off of a website, or a cloud.. Cell phones carry movies, etc.

Sh Boom, Sh Boom, (Trump’s flubs), Yadada dadada, dadada dadada (news media endless coverage), Oh life could be a dream… (Trump’s desire for approval).

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A Politician as FBI Director Will Affect All Legal Disputes, Not Just Russia

A Politician as FBI Director Will Affect All Legal Disputes, Not Just Russia

No matter what the Russia investigation turns up, it likely won’t be acted upon in any effective way. Its clear now that Attorney General Sessions has not really recused himself. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein seems to be under Trump’s thumb. Both House and Senate want to block an investigation. The Republican Congress will not impeach their strong leader who passes their policies.

So appointing a Republican politician to FBI Director will skew investigations on ALL issues to a Republican bias. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a politician, and already is supporting Trump stands on all issues, and ruling against immigrants, the poor, minorities, health care recipients, voting rights, clean energy, climate change, strict marijuana law enforcements, presumably even in states where medical marijuana is legal, etc. This will carry over to a political FBI Director as well.

We now know that Trump, in the White House, violated the independence of an investigation by asking FBI Director Comey if Trump was being investigated. Trump then told Comey that he demanded loyalty from his appointees. This stopped being legal in the US when we overthrew King George III Of Great Britain. Government employees are sworn to uphold the Constitution, like President Trump did. They are not there to be only loyal to the President, or any of their supervisors.

Then Trump gave the greatest insult that he could to a government employee: he said he wanted an FBI director who was loyal to the United States, insinuating the Director Comey had not been. Trump has only served 100 plus days in the US Government, or any government. Many US Government employees devote their lifetime service to the US and its government. Publicly questioning their loyalty is a great insult.

The loyalty oath was a big issue when it was required by the University of California in 1950. I was a liberal and opposed it. When much to my surprise and naivety, at my first day registering at UCLA, I was told that all entering male students would have to serve two years in ROTC. At the end of a long line to join ROTC, I was given a loyalty oath to sign, since I was joining the armed forces, or my education would be ended. I signed.

Along with the Supreme Court Justice appointment, the Attorney General’s office, and the Congressional acquiescence and backing, with the FBI Director, Trump will be protected from any challenges to his executive orders from within the federal government.

Posted in 2016 Election, Affairs of State, Congressional Investigation, Constitution, Donald Trump, FBI Director, Politics, Russia, Trump Administration, Voting Rights | Leave a comment

Trump’s Firing of Comey

While the cable, tv news, and the press are saturating the coverage of FBI Director James Comey’s firing, and this insignificant blog is not needed on this, I will continue commenting on this. Part of the blog is just as a diary of what we are exposed to. The other outlook, is that this is living real history, of enormous importance to our democracy , and to our system of justice. It is unique in the history of the Presidency. I will comment on the various issues, without repeating the hour by hour coverage.


First, Trump has now emitted that he is mad at Comey for exonerating Clinton, rather than for going public and chastising Clinton without charging her, as the media had been misinterpreting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s letter.


Trump is still upset over Clinton’s IT assistant erasing 33,000 personal emails. But Trump has refused to give Congress ANY documents about his campaign assistants who are being investigated.


Trump wined and dined Comey, and asked if he was under investigation. He also asked if Comey wanted to keep his job by pledging loyalty to Trump. Both are interfering with an investigation, and essentially trying to bribe the Director of the FBI. Trump also met with the Attorney General in firing Comey, over the now admitted investigation of links with Russia. Remember when Bill Clinton made a “social” call to Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch on her airplane, and was roundly attacked by all Republicans? And who had to recuse herself from the Clinton investigation?


Trump complained that Comey had stated that there was no evidence that Trump’s New York Tower had been tapped by Obama. But Trump let’s a Troika of Russian operatives into the Oval Office, something that hasn’t been done before. Trump threatened Comey with being bugged at the White House, but now it is much more likely that the Oval Office is bugged by Russia.


Finally, the Election Math lesson. Trump bragged about his victory, since it is so hard for Republicans to get Electoral College votes. Exactly the opposite is true. Let’s do a back of the envelope calculation. Republicans dominate 33 states, which should give them 66 Senators to 34 for Democrats. The population of Republican states is 60% of the US, and of Democratic states is 40% of the US. This should be roughly proportional the number of Congressional districts for the House. Of the 435 House members, this would break down as 261 Rs to 174 Ds. Adding, we roughly estimate an electoral vote of 327 Rs vs 208 Ds.


The hidden in-the-background story is Trump’s pursuit of his dream that he won the popular vote except for 3 to 5 million illegal votes. To supposedly prevent this, Trump has established a Federal election commission. Voting is supposed to be regulated by the states. Republicans have been blocking poor voters in Republican states by requiring picture identity cards. Is Trump trying to exclude Democratic voters all over the country with this approach, including California, with more liberal voting laws?

Posted in Affairs of State, Clinton, Congressional Investigation, Constitution, Cybersecurity, Donald Trump, FBI Director, Mathematics, Politics, Voter Fraud, Voting Rights, White House | Leave a comment