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Hissyspit

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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
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Journal Archives

Pentagon Blames UnitedHealth for Failures Under Contract

Source: Bloomberg


By Kathleen Miller

May 03, 2013 12:00 AM EDT

The Pentagon rebuked UnitedHealth (UNH) Group Inc., the nation’s largest insurer, after military families began experiencing long delays getting medical-care referrals from the company.

The backlogs occurred almost as soon as Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth took over a contract, valued as much as $20.5 billion, from TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. It assumed responsibility on April 1 for the western region of the military’s health-care system, known as Tricare.

UnitedHealth’s “failure to meet contractor requirements” has prevented a large number of beneficiaries in one Tricare health plan from obtaining timely access to specialty care, Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said in a memo yesterday to other military leaders.

Woodson, calling the situation “extraordinary,” said the Pentagon stepped in to grant a temporary waiver so the plan’s members in the western region could get specialty care without UnitedHealth’s authorization and not incur penalties.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-03/pentagon-blames-unitedhealth-for-failures-under-contract.html

Guantanamo Camp Burns Through $900,000 a Year Per Inmate

Source: Reuters

Guantanamo camp burns through $900,000 a year per inmate

Fri May 3, 2013 8:30pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It's been dubbed the most expensive prison on Earth and President Barack Obama cited the cost this week as one of many reasons to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, which burns through some $900,000 per prisoner annually.

The Pentagon estimates it spends about $150 million each year to operate the prison and military court system at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, which was set up 11 years ago to house foreign terrorism suspects. With 166 inmates currently in custody, that amounts to an annual cost of $903,614 per prisoner.

By comparison, super-maximum security prisons in the United States spend about $60,000 to $70,000 at most to house their inmates, analysts say. And the average cost across all federal prisons is about $30,000, they say.

The high cost was just one reason Obama cited when he returned this week to an unfulfilled promise to close the prison and said he would try again. Obama also said that the prison, set up under his Republican predecessor George W. Bush and long the target of criticism by rights groups and foreign governments, is a stain on the reputation of the United States.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE94211N20130504

Boston Bomb Suspect Died of Gunshots, Blunt Trauma

Source: CBS News

Boston bomb suspect died of gunshots, blunt trauma

May 03, 2013

BOSTON A suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings died from gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to his head and torso, his death certificate says.

Worcester funeral home owner Peter Stefan has 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body and read details from his death certificate on Friday. The certificate cites Tsarnaev's "gunshot wounds of torso and extremities," Stefan said.

Tsarnaev died last month after a gunfight with authorities a few days after the deadly marathon bombing. Police have said he ran out of ammunition before his younger brother dragged his body under a vehicle while fleeing the scene.

Tsarnaev's family was making arrangements for his funeral as investigators searched the woods near a college attended by his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, on Friday.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57582873/boston-bomb-suspect-died-of-gunshots-blunt-trauma

Obama Supports Including Gays in Immigration Bill

Source: Associated Press

OBAMA SUPPORTS INCLUDING GAYS IN IMMIGRATION BILL

May. 3 8:03 PM EDT

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — President Barack Obama says he supports recognizing gay unions in a broad immigration bill pending in Congress but won't say whether he would sign legislation that fails to do so.

Obama says that recognizing same-sex relationships in the bill is "the right thing to do." But he says it would be premature to telegraph what he will or won't do before lawmakers send him a bill.

Gay rights supporters are pushing for an amendment to the bill to allow gays to sponsor their partners to come to the U.S.

But Republicans, including some who helped draft the bill, have made it clear that amending the legislation in that fashion would cost their support.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/obama-supports-including-gays-immigration-bill

Howard Kurtz’s Belated Comeuppance (On Kurtz' Lies About Gary Webb, Bush Winning Florida...)

http://consortiumnews.com/2013/05/03/howard-kurtzs-belated-comeuppance

Howard Kurtz’s Belated Comeuppance

May 3, 2013

Exclusive: Media critic Howard Kurtz has lost his job as Washington bureau chief for Newsweek/Daily Beast after a blog post in which he falsely accused basketball player Jason Collins of hiding his past engagement to a woman while coming out as gay. But Kurtz’s journalistic abuses have a much longer history, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

For nearly a quarter century, Howard Kurtz has served as hall monitor for Washington’s conventional wisdom, handing out demerits to independent-minded journalists who don’t abide by the mainstream rules. So, there is some understandable pleasure seeing Kurtz face some accountability in his ouster as bureau chief for Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

However, the more salient point is that Kurtz, who continues to host CNN’s “Reliable Sources” show, should never have achieved the level of influence in journalism that he did. Throughout his career, he has consistently – and unfairly – punished journalists who had the courage to ask tough questions and pursue truly important stories.

When one looks at the mess that is modern journalism in the United States, a chief culprit has been Howard Kurtz. Yet, his downfall did not come because of his smearing of fellow journalists – like Gary Webb and Helen Thomas – but rather from a blog post that unfairly criticized basketball player Jason Collins after he revealed that he was gay.

- snip -

While Webb was held to the strictest standards of journalism, it was entirely all right for Kurtz — the supposed arbiter of journalistic standards — to make judgments based on ignorance. Kurtz faced no repercussions for disparaging an embattled journalist who was factually correct. (Kurtz’s sloppiness regarding Webb was similar to Kurtz’s cavalier approach to Collins’s brave announcement as the first player in a major U.S. team sport to declare that he is gay.)

- snip -

On Nov. 12, 2001, the Post’s headline was “Florida Recounts Would Have Favored Bush” and Kurtz backed that judgment up by dismissing anyone who actually looked at the statistical findings of the recount as a kook. Kurtz’s sidebar – headlined, “George W. Bush, Now More Than Ever” – ridiculed as “conspiracy theorists” those who thought Gore had won.

MUCH MORE AT LINK

Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal in Rhode Island

Source: CBS News

Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Rhode Island
May 02, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Rhode Island on Thursday became the nation's 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, as a 16-year effort to extend marriage rights in this heavily Roman Catholic state ended with the triumphant cheers of hundreds of gays, lesbians, their families and friends.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law on the Statehouse steps Thursday evening following a final 56-15 vote in the House. The first weddings will take place Aug. 1, when the law takes effect.

"I've been waiting 32 years for this day, and I never thought it would come in my lifetime," said Raymond Beausejour, a 66-year-old gay North Providence man who has been with his partner for 32 years. "For the first time in my life, I feel welcome in my own state."

After Chafee signed the bill, the hundreds of people who gathered on the Statehouse grounds erupted into cheers as a chorus sang "Chapel of Love."

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57582680/same-sex-marriage-becomes-legal-in-rhode-island

IBM Makes Tiny Movie by Pushing Molecules Around

Source: Associated Press

IBM MAKES TINY MOVIE BY PUSHING MOLECULES AROUND

Associated Press

— May. 1 12:11 AM EDT

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Scientists have taken the idea of a film short down to new levels. Molecular levels.

IBM says it has made the tiniest stop-motion movie ever — a one-minute video of individual carbon monoxide molecules repeatedly rearranged to show a boy dancing, throwing a ball and bouncing on a trampoline.

Each frame measures 45 by 25 nanometers — there are 25 million nanometers in an inch — but hugely magnified, the movie (http://bit.ly/17ZmHIt ) is reminiscent of early video games, particularly when the boy bounces the ball off the side of the frame accompanied by simple music and sound effects.

The movie is titled "A Boy and His Atom."

Videos showing atoms in motion have been seen before but Andreas Heinrich, IBM's principal scientist for the project, said Tuesday this is the first time anything so small has been maneuvered to tell a story.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ibm-makes-tiny-movie-pushing-molecules-around





In this undated image taken from video and provided by IBM, a boy composed of carbon monoxide molecules rides a skateboard in a scene from what IBM claims to be the world's tiniest stop-action movie. Entitled “A Boy and his Atom,” the one minute video employs individual carbon monoxide molecules that are rearranged to show the boy carrying out various activities. Each of the 242 frames measures 45 by 25 nanometers which is one billionth of a meter. (AP Photo/IBM)

Poll: One in Five Americans Believes Obamacare Has Already Been Repealed

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-04-30/a-new-obstacle-to-gop-efforts-to-repeal-obamacare

A New Obstacle to GOP Efforts to Repeal Obamacare

By Joshua Green

April 30, 2013 0:38 PM EDT

Over the last two years, Republicans in Congress have voted dozens of times to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. “Obamacare.” A furious debate over whether to keep up the probably fruitless push for outright repeal or instead attack the law at the margins has sundered the GOP and set back the efforts by such Republican leaders as Eric Cantor to put a friendlier face on an unpopular party.

A new poll out this morning from the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals an obstacle to repeal that Republicans may not have been counting on: One in five Americans believes that Obamacare has already been repealed. These misinformed millions divide into two camps: the 12 percent who wrongly believe that Congress has already undone the law and the 7 percent who wrongly believe that the Supreme Court struck it down (they must be CNN and Fox News watchers).

American Medical Association Questions Guantanamo Force-Feedings

Source: Reuters

American Medical Association questions Guantanamo force-feedings

Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:58pm BST

By Jane Sutton

MIAMI (Reuters) - The Navy sent extra medical personnel to the Guantanamo detention camp because of a growing hunger strike, and the American Medical Association questioned whether doctors were being asked to violate their ethics by force-feeding prisoners.

The reinforcements arrived at the weekend and included about 40 nurses, specialists and hospital corpsmen, who are trained to provide basic medical care, Army Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House, a spokesman for the detention camp said, said on Monday.

He said 100 of the 166 detainees had joined a hunger strike that began in February to protest their continued detention at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in eastern Cuba. Twenty-one of those had lost enough weight that they were being fed liquid supplements via tubes inserted in their noses and down into their stomachs, House said.

Five were in the hospital for observation but did not have life-threatening conditions, he said.

On Thursday, the president of the American Medical Association sent a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reiterating its long-held position that it is a violation of medical ethics to force-feed mentally competent adults who refuse food and life-saving treatment.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE93S0VD20130429

Officials: 16 Killed in Car Bombings in South Iraq

Source: Associated Press

OFFICIALS: 16 KILLED IN CAR BOMBINGS IN SOUTH IRAQ

By SINAN SALAHEDDIN
— Apr. 29 3:41 AM EDT

BAGHDAD (AP) — Officials say three car bombs have killed 16 people and wounded dozens in two Shiite cities in southern Iraq amid a rise in sectarian violence.

A police officer says two parked car bombs went off simultaneously Monday morning in the city of Amarah near a gathering of constructor workers and a market, killing nine civilians and wounding 20. Amarah is located 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Baghdad.

Another police officer said a parked car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the city of Diwaniyah, killing seven civilians and wounding 15 others. The city is located 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Baghdad.

Two medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/officials-16-killed-car-bombings-south-iraq
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