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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Journal Archives

Thanks, Obamacare: America's Uninsured Rate Is Below 10% For First Time Ever

For the first time in more than 50 years of surveys, the CDC on Wednesday reported that more than 90% of Americans — 90.8% of us, to be specific — have health insurance.

Until now, no major survey had ever found that the uninsured rate in America has hit single digits.

The data comes from the National Health Interview Survey, which the CDC has been conducting for more than 50 years. The questions have sometimes changed, but until this year, the answers haven’t: More than 10% of respondents, and sometimes as many as 18% of Americans, have reported that they’ve been uninsured.

The clear factor is the Affordable Care Act’s push for coverage expansion, which kicked in almost two years ago. I spoke about the ACA’s role with several experts back in June, and you can easily see the law’s effects on the chart.



Man Charged in Bitcoin Scheme Appears in New York Court

Anthony Murgio, a Florida man who was charged last month by federal prosecutors in Manhattan with running an illegal bitcoin money exchange firm and is thought to have information about last summer’s hacking attack against JPMorgan Chase, seemed to be taking the unfolding criminal case against him in stride during a court appearance on Monday morning.

Mr. Murgio, 31, made small talk with the two federal agents in the hallway of the federal court in Lower Manhattan, while waiting to appear on those charges before the United States magistrate judge, James C. Francis IV. At one point, he even rushed to see if a woman who had fallen in the hallway was hurt and needed help getting up.

But when he appeared in court, Mr. Murgio said nothing, letting his lawyer, Gregory W. Kehoe of the big law firm Greenberg Traurig, do the talking. The hearing was brief and the judge allowed Mr. Murgio, who has run a number of less-than-successful businesses since graduating from Florida State University, to remain free on $100,000 bail. Mr. Murgio posted the bail a week ago after his arrest on July 21 in Tampa after spending a few nights in the Pinellas County jail while he and his family secured the money.

Federal authorities contend that Mr. Murgio’s company, Coin.mx, allowed online criminals to illegally exchange the digital currency bitcoin for cash as part of a money-laundering scheme. Mr. Murgio could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the money-laundering charges.



China Read Emails of Top U.S. Officials

Source: NBC News

China's cyber spies have accessed the private emails of "many" top Obama administration officials, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official and a top secret document obtained by NBC News, and have been doing so since at least April 2010.

The email grab -- first codenamed "Dancing Panda" by U.S. officials, and then "Legion Amethyst" -- was detected in April 2010, according to a top secret NSA briefing from 2014. The intrusion into personal emails was still active at the time of the briefing and, according to the senior official, is still going on.

In 2011, Google disclosed that the private gmail accounts of some U.S. officials had been compromised, but the briefing shows that private email accounts from other providers were compromised as well.

The government email accounts assigned to the officials, however, were not hacked because they are more secure, says the senior U.S. intelligence official.

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/china-read-emails-top-us-officials-n406046


War in Space May Be Closer than Ever

The world’s most worrisome military flashpoint is arguably not in the Strait of Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, Iran, Israel, Kashmir or Ukraine. In fact, it cannot be located on any map of Earth, even though it is very easy to find. To see it, just look up into a clear sky, to the no-man’s-land of Earth orbit, where a conflict is unfolding that is an arms race in all but name.

The emptiness of outer space might be the last place you’d expect militaries to vie over contested territory, except that outer space isn’t so empty anymore. About 1,300 active satellites wreathe the globe in a crowded nest of orbits, providing worldwide communications, GPS navigation, weather forecasting and planetary surveillance. For militaries that rely on some of those satellites for modern warfare, space has become the ultimate high ground, with the U.S. as the undisputed king of the hill. Now, as China and Russia aggressively seek to challenge U.S. superiority in space with ambitious military space programs of their own, the power struggle risks sparking a conflict that could cripple the entire planet’s space-based infrastructure. And though it might begin in space, such a conflict could easily ignite full-blown war on Earth.

The long-simmering tensions are now approaching a boiling point due to several events, including recent and ongoing tests of possible anti-satellite weapons by China and Russia, as well as last month’s failure of tension-easing talks at the United Nations.

Testifying before Congress earlier this year, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper echoed the concerns held by many senior government officials about the growing threat to U.S. satellites, saying that China and Russia are both “developing capabilities to deny access in a conflict,” such as those that might erupt over China’s military activities in the South China Sea or Russia’s in Ukraine. China in particular, Clapper said, has demonstrated “the need to interfere with, damage and destroy” U.S. satellites, referring to a series of Chinese anti-satellite missile tests that began in 2007.


Like they were born to be partners -- Why should water separate them?


Japan is way ahead of us...WAY ahead!


"Bernie Sanders Clearly In Pocket Of High-Rolling Teacher Who Donated $300"

BURLINGTON, VT—After accepting a check sent to his campaign office by a local elementary school teacher, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was roundly criticized Monday as being firmly in the pocket of the high-rolling educator who had donated $300. “He might have the reputation of being the people’s candidate, but when your candidacy is effectively bankrolled by the multi-hundred-dollar donation of a fourth-grade teacher, it’s clear who’s really pulling the strings,” said political analyst Peter Mathews, who noted that when a check arrives with a handwritten note that says “Behind you 100 percent, Bernie!” it comes with certain expectations. “He’s already spouting off talking points about supporting unions and increasing funding for education. Where do you think he got those ideas? He might think he’s not influenced by that money, but when someone has deep enough pockets to drop $300, you pick up the phone when they call.” Mathews went on to say he wouldn’t be surprised if Sanders’ strong support for a living wage could be directly traced to the fat $20 contribution he got from a fast-food worker.


Journalist dies after being shot while hosting radio program

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder on Thursday of Brazilian radio journalist Gleydson Carvalho in the municipality of Camocim in the northeastern state of Ceará and calls on authorities to bring the killers to justice. Carvalho was presenting a program on Radio Liberdade FM when two unidentified gunmen entered the station's offices during a musical interlude and shot him, according to news reports. He died while en route to a hospital, the reports said. The journalist had frequently criticized local politicians and repeatedly received death threats on his Facebook page, news reports said.

"Violence against the press in Brazil had already reached unacceptable levels. Now we are stunned by the brazen murder of Gleydson Carvalho in the middle of his radio show," said Sara Rafsky, CPJ's Americas research associate. "Authorities must take action to combat a press freedom crisis that is violating the right of all Brazilians to be informed, not to mention ending journalists' lives."

CPJ has documented a sharp increase in lethal, anti-press violence in Brazil in recent years. Three other journalists have been killed this year in direct retaliation for their work, including two who were killed and tortured in a one-week period in May. None of their cases have been resolved. At least 16 journalists have been killed in direct retaliation for their work since 2011, CPJ research shows.


NOTE: This is the fourth journalist slain in Brasil this year...

Meanwhile, in Times Square...

Poor Spidey...Fallen on rough times


Man sentenced to 30 years of jail for insulting the Thai monarchy on Facebook

A man has been sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment for insulting Thailand's monarchy on Facebook. The long jail term was imposed under the country's harsh lèse-majesté law (literally "injured majesty"), which lays down that anyone convicted of insulting the king, queen, heir, or regent faces up to 15 years in prison on each count.

As The Guardian reports, Bangkok’s military court found Pongsak Sriboonpeng, 48, guilty of "posting messages and pictures defaming the monarchy in six posts on the social media site." Although he faced a possible 90 years in prison, the court imposed "only" 60 years—ten years for each insulting post—which was then halved because he pleaded guilty.

His lawyer pointed out that this is a new record for the law, and noted that there could be no appeal against the sentence, since it was imposed by a military court in a country still under martial law. The Guardian article says that convictions for lèse-majesté have increased dramatically since Thailand’s generals seized power from the elected government in May 2014.

The Thai "tradition" of imposing or threatening to impose long jail sentences for insulting the monarchy goes back many years. Ars reported how in 2006 a naturalised United States citizen from Thailand was arrested when he returned to his native land, and allegedly forced to confess to breaking the law. He was released after promising not to do so again—and praising the country's king.

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