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Gender: Male
Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Sat Jan 1, 2005, 04:45 AM
Number of posts: 8,128

Journal Archives

Yes, it is indeed a travesty, an abomination

Here's my little list of all the reasons why Obama and his cheerleaders should all be hauled before the Court of International Justice in The Hague to be tried for crimes against humanity - [font color = gray, size = 1]sarcasm thingy[/font]

no more exclusion or higher premiums because of pre-existing conditions

copays are now capped

no more annual or lifetime caps

no more cancellations because one gets injured or sick

preventive services now free

insurance companies have to spend at least 85% of revenue on actual health care, else refund the excess back to consumers

covering adult children under age 26 on parent's plan.

Medicare Part D - Prescription drug donut hole closing

reliable birth control methods are now affordable (as in free)

People of the "wrong" gender are no longer charged more

Comparing plans is much easier

Can switch plans easily (because insurers can no longer use your medical history / pre-existing conditions against you) -- should make for more real competition

Don't have to fill out any long medical history forms (or short ones either), there are no medical questions asked (except about smoking). In the old days, if you forgot some yeast infection you had as a 6 year old child, that was reason to deny an expensive claim 50 years later on the basis of history form fraud. Meanwhile the state insurance regulators just sat on their butts.

Entrepreneurial types can now much more easily leave their employer and start their own business and still have insurance. And in general much reduces "job lock" for everyone, where people stayed with a job they hated because they needed the job-supplied health insurance -- http://news.yahoo.com/health-law-workers-ponder-quit-option-060047469.html

anything else?

listmania tag

Republicans resort to trickery to outfox Democrats (fake Dem websites send contributions to Repubs)

Source: The Week

If you donate to a candidate online, pay attention to the fine print to make sure your donation goes to the candidate you want and not his or her opponent.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a series of websites that look like they support a Democratic candidate for Congress, but instead direct contributions to the Republican Party instead.

The Tampa Bay Times interviews one donor who thought he was giving to Alex Sink's (D) congressional campaign. It even used the same blue and green color scheme as the candidate's official website.

But he didn't see the small print, which said, "Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her."

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/republicans-resort-trickery-outfox-democrats-172800372.html

Sorry this is 14 hours old, but I think its worth 2 hours of grace. I contributed to a Democratic senator's campaign after hearing she was facing a tough reelection, and I found whatever page I used through a Google search. So naturally I wonder where it went to -- $500 to a RepubliCON?. Later: I found the web page I used in my browser cache, and it looks OK, whew.

Here is that fake website for Alex Sink (D) mentioned in that article.

Its not really "small print" that it goes to her opponent, but, it is certainly true that it is easy to miss if one isn't expecting shenanigans. I never heard of this crap before, but then I live a sheltered life.

More at the Tampa Bay Times story

The person in the story who made the contribution got the charge on his credit card reversed, but only after filling out a bunch of forms his credit card company sent him, and perhaps only because this was/is a media story.


As for the title, "Republicans resort to trickery to outfox Democrats", I know that isn't "Late Breaking News". But the Late Breaking News forum requires we use the article title as given, though we're allowed to put some clarification in parenthesis ()'s, or at least I've seen that done many times. Its not news to me that Republicans resort to trickery, but it is very much news to me that fake websites like http://contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com/ are legal. So I felt the ()'s clarification in the title was essential.


[font color = red]Update 2/4 1039p CT[/font]: The http://contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com/ now triggers in my Chrome browser (but not my Internet Explorer browser) with a Phishing Warning that it has been reported as a Phishing site!

[font color = red]Update 2/6 1131p CT[/font]: Bad news! Now my Chrome browser has no problem with the above URL.

Doctors say cutting food stamps could backfire

Source: Associated Press

Doctors are warning that if Congress cuts food stamps, the federal government could be socked with bigger health bills. Maybe not immediately, they say, but over time if the poor wind up in doctors' offices or hospitals as a result. Among the health risks of hunger are spiked rates of diabetes and developmental problems for young children down the road.

... Last year, research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts estimated that a cut of $2 billion a year in food stamps could trigger in an increase of $15 billion in medical costs for diabetes over the next decade.

Other research shows children from food-insecure families are 30 percent more likely to have been hospitalized for a range of illnesses. But after a temporary boost in benefits from the 2009 economic stimulus, children whose families used food stamps were significantly more likely to be well than kids in low-income families that didn't participate, Children's HealthWatch found. About half of food stamp recipients are children, and 10 percent are elderly

... Dr. Thomas McInerny, past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said too often, poor families buy cheap, high-calorie junk food because it's filling, but it lacks nutrients needed for proper child development. The two main consequences are later-in-life diabetes, and iron deficiency that, especially in the first three years of life, can damage a developing brain so that children have trouble learning in school, he said.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/doctors-cutting-food-stamps-could-backfire-192904431--finance.html

Some other studies described that I couldn't fit in the 4 paragraph limit. All-in-all a lot of evidence that cutting food stamps will cost the government a lot more money than it "saves", as well as of course harming family budgets and health.

Fox News mistakenly airs parody of Obama offering to personally fund Muslim museum

Source: Yahoo News - (with video of the Fox News segment)

In a story about the monument closure, Fox News host Anna Kooiman fell prey to a false report from a parody site, which claimed that President Obama had offered to keep the International Museum of Muslim Cultures open with cash from his own pocket.

Kooiman was referencing a quote from the National Report, a parody news site that ran the fake story on Obama. The key quote from the story reads:

“The International Museum of Muslim Cultures is sacred. That is why I have taken it upon myself to use my own personal funds to re-open this historic piece of American culture.”

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/fox-news-mistakenly-airs-parody-of-obama-offering-to-personally-fund-muslim-museum-233837793.html

Its a 2:21 m:s video. The first 1:30 m:s of the video is about how war memorials are being shut down, even though it doesn't cost anything to keep them open, just to make the shutdown as painful as possible.

Then at 1:30 it gets more interesting and at 1:58 is when they claim Obama is offering to pay out of pocket to keep the International Musuem of Muslim Cultures open.

Yes, I know Yahoo! News, The Sideshow is not a mainstream source, I did look for something more mainstreamy. (Yahoo News did post it as the 3rd main story on its news.yahoo.com home page). But I trust the video is real, and I trust Media Matters. Media Matters packaged the video segment.

Other sources:
Media Matters http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/10/05/fox-falls-for-fake-story-about-obama-personally/196304

[font color = red]On Edit 10/6 1023 pm Central (after 26 replies) -- there are several comments directed at this OP about how Fox's "mistake" was intentional. I agree. However, one of the rules of Late Breaking News is that we must use the original title of the article. And also any excerpts we use (above the "Read More:" line) must be unaltered. [/font] Yes, I think a more apt title is one with quotes and a spelling change: [font color = blue]Faux "News" "mistakenly" airs parody of Obama offering to personally fund Muslim museum[/font]

[font color = green]On Edit 10/7 939 am Central[/font] - On October 6, Kooiman issued the following statement via Twitter: "Just met w producers- I made a mistake yday after receiving flawed research abt a museum possibly closing. My apologies. Won't happen again."
Source: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/10/05/fox-falls-for-fake-story-about-obama-personally/196304
I know "mistake" "flawed research" "apologies" "again"
"a museum possibly closing"
I heard about this update on the Stephanie Miller show.

Gorgeous Time Lapse Video Reveal a Nighttime Sky Free From Light Pollution. Also Stunning Moonrise

Look up at the nighttime sky and what do you see? If you're like most, the answer is probably not "stars," but the orange wash of streetlights reflected in the sky above.

Light pollution from ambient nighttime lighting is an unrelenting drain on energy reserves worldwide, and a problem that's growing at a rate of four percent annually. The consistent glare of illumination can adversely affect everything around it, including ecosystems and wildlife.

But at the Mount John Observatory in New Zealand, star-gazers can enjoy a crystal-clear view from Earth of the solar system above, due in part to the nearby township of Lake Tekapo, which increasingly powers down its ambient lights at night.

The observatory is part of a territory that was officially named an International Dark Sky Reserve in 2012, allowing guests to enjoy soaring and detailed views of the universe that we often forget our planet is a part of.

A bit more: http://news.yahoo.com/gorgeous-photos-show-nighttime-sky-free-light-pollution-194724490.html

(33 seconds)

Related: Moonrise over New Zealand - presented in real-time
This is not a time lapse. This moonrise, Wellington, New Zealand was recorded and shown in real time is positively spellbinding. The mood music adds a lot to it.

Courtesy of: http://www.democraticunderground.com/122815019 (which got 120 rec's)
3 minutes 36 seconds

What ever happened to David Shove's Progressive Calendar?

Probably most of us, as Minnesota activists, are familiar with David Shove's Progressive Calendar.

See http://justcomm.org/mn-prog-events/ and http://lists.justcomm.org/pipermail/mn-prog-events/ for archives of David Shove's Progressive Calendar and a few other calendar items by others.

(By the way, one can subscribe to the mn-prog-events list and get emails. You can also send notices to it -- [font color = red]PLEASE DO SO!!!!!![/font] -- see http://justcomm.org/mn-prog-events/#posts and send to mn-prog-events {at} justcomm.org ).

Shove's Progressive Calendar used to be a daily thing listing maybe an average of 5 events. Now it is maybe 3 times a month and lately the only "progressive event" it has been announcing lately is the Midstream Reading Series at the Blue Moon building.

I really miss it (the way it was), in that I have no way of knowing what's going on as far as demonstrations and protests I might attend or other events of the progressive community, except to check say here, AntiWar MN's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AntiwarMN ), Occupy Homes MN (https://www.facebook.com/OccupyHomesMN ), AM 950 progressive talk radio's page (https://www.facebook.com/AM950Radio ) and that's about it.

Is there some resource I'm not aware of that will keep me notified of progressive events? I'm sick and tired of finding out about some protest only after it has occurred by hearing about it on the news. (By sending notices of progressive events to mn-prog-events {at} justcomm.org , you will help at least those of us that are subscribers to the list.)


No more print magazines, what do I do?

First it was PC Magazine that went from print to digital only. Then Newsweek, and now PC World. And numerous smaller publications have done so, like my city's Crime Watch newsletter.

I'm getting old. I LOVE TO READ IN BED! And it's how I fall asleep. I hate reading long articles and books on my computer screen at a desk.

When PC World recently went all-digital, I signed up for the Zinio subscription service and Zinio Reader for reading downloaded magazines offline on my Windows 7 PC. But that royally sucks:

I cannot underline or highlight, I cannot annotate, I cannot copy and paste anything. What worthless crap.

Whereas in a print magazine I underline and annotate. I underline some really key things darker and harder. I put a star or two in the margin for a really key key thing. Sometimes I use different colors. And I do that all FLAT ON MY BACK IN BED. And though with a print magazine I can't copy and paste electronically either, I do type a few sparse notes on some key articles, and clip the article and file chronologically.

I have not explored any e-book readers or tablets. I know with a Kindle, for example, one can underline and annotate, but don't know if I'd be allowed to do that on my PCWorld subscription from Zinio (probably not)

I have similar issues with books too, but let's make that a separate posting.

Anyone else having trouble coping with the modern world?

Thanks for any insights.

I wonder what the "crazy" ants think of us. 400 ppm CO2 etc. Population video:

The dramatic dot video of population growth. A world map beginning in 1 A.D. with 1 dot = 1 million people

It is about 6 1/2 minutes long but you can skip the first 2 minutes -- the actual dot stuff begins at 2:00 and ends at 5:42. At 5:00 have reached about 1600 A.D. while the population is still quite modest outside of India and China. (So if you are in a time bind, you can start at 5:00 and watch just the last 42 seconds) "As the film neared present day and the dots started flying onto the screen, there were audible gasps, wide staring eyes, and mumblings of "no way" and "I knew we were growing but not THAT much."

Not another head tax - the most regressive tax of all

According to a Pioneer Press article:

“A group of lawmakers will take a second look at a controversial bill to impose a $5 surcharge on homeowners and vehicle insurance policies, raising about $23 million annually for police and fire pensions.”

More at: http://www.twincities.com/politics/ci_22768070/insurance-surcharges-boost-pension-plans-gets-second-look?source=rss


Taxing each household the same amount (similar to a head tax) is far more regressive than even a sales tax. Yes, I know, it's households, not people, but it's close. And yes, I know only homeowners pay the homeowner insurance surcharge, but virtually all economists believe that in the long run in a market economy, homeowner costs and taxes are paid mostly by the renters in the case of rental property. And yes, the poorest of the poor probably don’t have a vehicle. But it is still a VERY regressive tax.

In Golden Valley, we’ve been recently hit with new $24 / year surcharges on our electric bill and another $24/year on our gas bill – another similar head / household tax. (I know that's not the legislature's doing, but its an illustration of how our elected officials are adding and increasing the most regressive taxes).

And then don’t get me started on the sales tax increases – the next most regressive tax after head / household taxes. The sales tax on services, besides being extremely regressive, is mostly a tax on local labor.

In an age when inequality is soaring through the roof, I am shocked and horrified that a Democratic governor and legislature seems to be doing all it possibly can to make the situation worse.

We're half way to replace electoral college with national popular vote, MN may join that effort

This from state Senator Ann Rest, DFL, New Hope

S.F. 585 would add Minnesota to a national compact of states agreeing to elect the President of the United
States by a national popular vote as opposed to the current Electoral College system. If enough states adopt
this compact to account for 270 of the nation’s electoral votes, they would effectively be able to enforce
the new process. Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia have agreed to the compact, accounting
for approximately a quarter of the Electoral College votes.

Source of above (no more info on this topic, the above blurb is the whole thing) : https://www.senate.mn/members/newsletter/1051_Rest_Ann/CapitolUpdate07February232013.pdf

The above says the proposal already has about a quarter of the electoral votes. Once we reach 270 -- half of the total electoral votes, then that will be enough to choose the president no matter what the other states do with their electoral votes (The ones agreeing to this compact will assign all their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote). Anyway, since the proposal has got 1/4 and needs 1/2, that's why my title line says that the proposal is half way there (1/4 is half way to 1/2 -- maths is hard).

So anyway this looks like something that could happen. Compared to what we have now (winner take all in all states except Nebraska and Maine), it might not make much practical difference. But if the RepubliCONs succeed in changing some blue swing states that they control from winner-take-all to allocating electoral votes by congressional district, then it will be a big, big difference. If the RepubliCONs had had their way on this in 2012, Romney would be president by 16 electoral votes, instead of losing by 126 electoral votes and by 3.7% of the national popular vote ( https://www.freespeech.org/text/rigging-democracy )

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