The Guardian™ Chair is a chair with a bullet resistant vest. An NIJ Level II bullet resistant vest will provide protection against regular powered 9mm handguns, up to .357 Magnums. And the requisite, very necessary video: Instead of having less weapons and so, less shootings and maimings and killings, let's just buy bullet-proof chairs and furniture and clothing to protect us. Brilliant. As the British would say, bloody brilliant. Pun intended. Yeehaw. Giddyup. Go get 'em, cowboy. And God bless Amerikuh.
It occurred to me the other evening, while watching yet another PBS' News Hour, that only on PBS have I ever seen and would we ever see not just one but four different black men--specialists, all--discuss the current black experience and situation here in America:
Naturally, it was a terrific, insightful, intelligent, enlightening conversation unlike you get anywhere else on TV. Kudos and thank you,PBSNewsHour and PBS. Now, if only more people would watch. And listen. And learn.
I saw this on a Facebook "friend's" page last evening. I loved it:
We went to a family wedding this weekend on the mighty Hudson River. Mary's family is Jewish and a good Jewish wedding is a real wang dang doodle. They drink right at the table. In my family, you had to go out to your truck to drink. Jews dance, too. Even the preacher! The whole thing would be a scandal among my people. I went along with it and raised a bunch of hell too, to be respectful.
I kept my hat on during the service so I wouldn't stand out. I enjoyed the preaching. It was in several different languages, like an international flight. I picked up that the word "shalom" means "peace," and the preacher said the root of "shalom" means "to be complete."
Then the bride and groom drank cheap wine in front of everybody. The preacher handed them another glass and they were already so drunk they threw it on the ground and stomped it flat. That got everybody riled up and we all jumped up, went inside and got our own drinks. We never did get back to the ceremony and the preacher left.
After a day with my rowdy Jewish family, eating, drinking, praying, eating, dancing, eating, telling jokes, eating, drinking, dancing some more, eating, and then dancing until the band got fed up and went home, I felt at peace. I felt complete. I sure wasn't hungry.
This little guy danced everybody into the ground. His mama is Jewish. They say that means that he's Jewish. I think they're right about that. If you'd seen him dance, you'd know he damn sure isn't Baptist.
Shalom, y'all. If I keep having this much fun, I might have to convert. I already had the required surgery, but maybe we could rig up something with velcro. Just to make it feel complete. Link:Jonathan Byrd | Facebook
WASHINGTON — Personal health care costs rose in the 12 months ending in May at the slowest rate in the last 50 years, as spending on hospital and nursing home services declined, the White House announced Monday.
Personal consumption spending rose 1.1%, Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said. Hospital readmissions rates dropped from an average of 19% to 17.9% for Medicare patients since the passage of the 2010 health care law, Krueger said.
A series of recent government reports and industry analyses have shown a decrease in overall health care costs. In May, a Congressional Budget Office report showed a $618 billion drop in projected Medicare and Medicaid spending over the next decade. A recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showed that for Americans who receive health insurance through their employers, premiums rose 3% from 2011 to 2012, the lowest increase since 1996.
The law is not affecting job growth, Krueger said. Job growth in industries that have traditionally not provided health insurance for their employees, such as restaurants, was higher. Restaurant sales and employment have increased more than any other retail sales industry since the law was signed, at about 11% for employment and 17% in retail sales, and weekly hours also have grown about 3% since the law was signed.
"Data from across the economy — covering consumers, government and private employers — point to the same conclusion," Krueger said. "Health care cost growth has slowed."
It's working. The Affordable Care Act--"Obamacare"--is working.
It's already working.
Is it enough?
Heck, no, but it's helping and it's helping us, the people who need it.
Get behind this thing or get left behind.
This whole thing is exactly like FDR, back in the 30's and the creation of and Democratic support for it while the Right Wing, the Republicans and some business people were against it.
Need more proof? Here you go, another, separate article:
Obamacare confession. ~ July 24, 2013 By JT Eberhard
This is my father’s facebook status from last night: "The hammer has dropped. The sky has fallen. I have been a staunch defender of the ACA. I have defended Nancy Pelosi’s much maligned (and taken out of context by the right) statement to pass it so we would know what was in it. Well. Today, I got a letter from my current insurance company inviting me to call them and find out what the exchange could do for me. The letter informed me that I could keep my current $600 per month, $10,000 deductible policy since it is grandfathered in, or I could get a new policy starting Jan. 1. For a total of $105 per month, I will be able to get a new silver policy. My current policy equal to a bronze. For a total of $300 per month, I will be able to get a gold policy. The higher your metal, the lower your deductible, your copay, and the higher the drug benefit. So, instead of $7200 per year for catastrophic insurance for Carol and I, plus paying out about $10,000 out of pocket each year due to the high deductible and pre-existing conditions………we will pay either $1200 or $3600 per year for a damned sight better coverage and much fewer out of pocket expenses. So, for all the conservatives who have been desperately straining for years to scare me out of this, and to the Republicans in the House who have voted 37 times to repeal the ACA……kiss my country ass. You’re a bunch of lying, fear mongering and ignorant demagogues, and you should be ashamed of yourselves." Link to the original blog post: Obamacare confession. - Patheos
While "Obamacare" is controversial, a new report shows that it has saved consumers billions of dollars.According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the new "80/20" rule, which requires insurers to spend 80 percent of every dollar earned on medical services, helped saved American consumers $3.9 billion in 2012.
The savings were divided into two areas. About $3.4 billion was saved by insurers keeping their premiums lower in order to comply with the new law and $500 million came in the form of rebates being sent back to consumers who overpaid for their premiums. The total cost wasn't solely the result of the "80/20" rule, but it was the leading cause of premiums being kept at a lower level.
I won't, I can't add anything further to that except to say it's for us. The Affordable Care Act--Obamacare--is for us, not the corporations.
That and the fact that, if you're against it, you'd better be wealthy and/or in the health care industry and extremely well-paid already.
From Facebook last evening though I'd seen it before. Maybe you have, too.
Osani Circle Game - taken by Jean-Pierre Hallet
“An anthropologist proposed a game to children in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the children that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run, they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.
When he asked them why they had run like that when one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said, ‘UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?’ (‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”
We need to end the big, ugly, corrupting influence of money from the wealthy and corporations in our election system and government. It's the only way we'll get back our representatives, their legislation, our laws and so, our government for the people.
A "pit stop" on a float trip in Southern Missouri shouldn't be a problem, should it?
What could go wrong?
From The Daily Kos. It was actually the urinater's cousin who was shot and killed. He was defending the urinater. True.
...Yesterday, a man who owns a piece of property along Missouri's Meramec River, was pissed off when a guy on a casual canoe trip pissed in the woods behind "his" gravel bar. He then threatened the urinater with a gun. When the urinater's cousin tried to get between him and the property owner, the property owner shot the cousin in the head and killed him.
The St. LouisPost-Dispatch covered it first, like this:
And here's what's happening, at least in one state:
This week, the state of Delaware, which has made corporate governance its regional cuisine, approved a new form of incorporation, the B-corp, or benefit corporation. These are companies explicitly charged with a dual mission: to earn profits for shareholders, the traditional businessgoal, and also to pursue the social good in other ways, ranging from protecting employees to safeguarding the environment — even if these goals come at the cost of short-term financial gain. Here's hoping it catches. And spreads, widely, quickly and wildly. I could see these being very well invested in, should it spread. People would like that the companies are based on both profit and on doing what's best for the environment and otherwise. With man-made climate change, it becomes more and more obvious and necessary, I think. Here's hoping.
I'm telling you, this is one very different part of the country this Southwest Missouri. I see things and I keep seeing things I can't even imagine prior to being here, let alone not seeing them before now.
Here's the first one I'll mention so far-- it's a billboard, apparently by and from the Catholic Church and it's in Springfield. It says:
"CATHOLICISM: THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO SOCIALISM"
Because, after all, isn't that--Socialism--one of the biggest ongoing fears of most Americans, in general, but Right Wingers and Republicans, more specifically, since the core of Communism died with the old Soviet Union and China as we knew them?
God forbid we have Socialism, right?
Except I can't think of a more fair, just, moral and even "Christian" or "Christ-like" political system than Socialism, personally, when you think about it.
These, after all, are the definitions of the big, ugly Socialism:
1) any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2) a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3) : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.
And face it, we're never, ever going to have total ownership of anything in this country, let's be real here. No one's talking about or realistically promoting anything like total Socialism or, again, total ownership of production by "the state", by the government.
That said, Socialism, in various degrees, exists over much of the free world and it's certainly in existence here, now, in America, much to a lot of people's dislike and even though, to others of us, there isn't near enough practiced here.
The only things we'd push for in this country is that the gross inequities and inequalities of, as a best comparison and example, the obscenely wealthy vs. the horribly immorality of the extremely poor.
And it was Jesus Christ himself who ran the "money changers" out of the temple, as a reminder and said things like
--"It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God"
--"...go, sell what you own and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven..." and this one: "
--"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days”
Suffice to say, Jesus was well known as anything but a fan of the wealthy. Keeping "safety nets" for the very poor of us is the only decent, humane, moral and yes, even "Christian" thing to do. And sure, it shouldn't be set up so it makes for an "easy ride" one can be on perpetually but our current systems of assistance to the poor and food stamps and unemployment insurance is anything but.
What a Capitalist racket that's turned out to be. No wonder they want to fight "Socialism."
I remember when it used to be important, really, to sit down in the evening, at the end of each work day, and watch the evening, national news.
It wasn't that long ago.
But over time, the news has gotten far more "entertaining" and so, far less and less important.
Now, the evening news is very likely to have YouTube videos, showing about what some crazy cat--literally, a feline--did in their owner's back yard recently.
And then Fox "News" came along, shortly after the Republicans did away with the "Fairness Doctrine" so we could and would hear both sides of a story and one side wouldn't do all day, inflammatory commentary as the Fox stations do now.
And the local news?
Why, it got fluffier and fluffier until now, today, it's like cotton candy--mostly air. Air and sugar.
And where are we going now? Is there any hope of it getting and better in the future?
I think we all know the answer to that one.
The biggest trend in outgoing news and incoming "staying informed" on our part--that of the citizen in the US and world--is that we've gone from desktop computers to laptops and there was a great deal of information out there and sure, there still is.
But now, now we're going on to our little cell phones, with all that same capability of the bigger computers but most people just use them to entertain themselves even further. The younger the person, the more attached they are to their mobile device--mostly phones--with videos and Tweets and that's about it.
I don't hold out hope for the coming generations.
I think they look to be very well-intended, well-meaning, empathetic, open-minded people with very little awareness of what's going on in their government and so, where their country and world is headed.
It seems owner, founder Michael Dell of the formerly huge and important Dell Computer has been trying to buy back and take back over his computer making company, in an effort to save it. With our turn away from desktop computers, world wide, the company has been in serious trouble lately.
What were some of the biggest, most powerful and seemingly forever-formidable companies in the computer business--this time, Microsoft--are simply not immune to the turn to tablets, "devices" and cell phones. It's a huge turn.
In this case, it seems big and, again, powerful Google, who knows just how to use information and advertising from desktops and laptops just can't translate that same power into income for itself on the cursed little cell phones.
What's it all mean, besides the obvious, besides the fact that the entire computer industry is very much changing, and rather quickly, to those same, smaller cell phones and tablets?
It seems to mean that not only is there big change on the horizon but that that very same change seems to be coming at us at ever faster rates. More and more big change at faster and faster rates.
It's tough to keep up with it all.
If you have or get a good idea, you'd better be on it fast, ladies and gentlemen.
First, it makes electricity created from the sun far less expensive. That alone is an important step in getting electricity from the sun more widespread so we can have far cleaner energy and less pollution and carbon dioxide spread around the world.
Second, it makes it far easier to install on, say, all the glass business towers across the US and world. That, again, makes it far more likely to happen and spread. Nothing but environment wins for us.
Third, it makes solar energy far less polluting itself, since solar panels wouldn't have to be created.
I don't think people understand how big and pivotal and important this is and can be, for the US and even the world.
It's been said that, whatever nation "owns" solar energy will also "own" the next century. It's important we be on top of this, as a nation. This needs to be patented quickly and, unfortunately, the technology kept from the Chinese. We can sell it to them but that's all.
Now, that said, I'd have to immediately fall back on that and say that, the minute we do sell it to them, they'll take apart and mimic that same technology and create their own so the "win" for us will be short-lived.
Coincidentally, from The New York Times yesterday:
This could help us avoid a trade war with China, at the same time, a fourth big benefit of this development. This would make that a thing of the past. We would, in effect, leapfrog over this problem of trade with the Chinese on now-antiquated solar panels. A total win.
All that said, this could and should make energy not only far cleaner and less polluting and distributing far less carbon dioxide but it should also help get energy far more cheaply, out to the entire world and should and reduce the costs of electricity but also get it out to more of the poor and impoverished of the world, too, unless it's controlled only by corporations and the governments they "own."
I'm also thinking--and hoping--that this technology will allow the purchaser to merely put this on existing windows, too, and not have to replace them. If that's the case, and I feel strongly it either is or will be, it just makes it that much bigger a solar energy advancement. That owners and developers of existing skyscrapers and other companies and corporations could merely put these electricity-generating cells on their existing windows would be a huge energy savings for those companies, at the same time it reduces pollution.
This could, conceivably, be, if not a death knell, certainly a huge dent in our need for very-polluting power plants with all their coal and pollution and yes, carbon dioxide emitting stacks.
It could also, quite conceivably, lead to cars with these cells on not just the glass, maybe, but on the hood and roof and trunk, so they generate their own, clean power and we start polluting far less with our transportation one day soon, too. That would be a great advance for the planet.
This breakthrough should make it reasonably-priced, then, for corporations, organizations and building owners, at least, to put these on existing buildings so they generate their own power. Can you imagine the short- and long-term savings of doing away with most of a skyscraper's utility bill? Added to it, in much of the year, I'd be very surprised if those same glass towers would generate more power than the building would require so they could and would be able to sell that additional power back to the utility company as is now prescribed by law.
Finally, folks, note where this was made, note who created this breakthrough.
Yes, it was UCLA--the University of California at Los Angeles.
It wasn't a corporation.
That, too, is huge.
It's also why we need to both stop cutting education funding and absolutely stop making education more and more expensive for the students and children in the nation.
But that's another story.
For now, let's just enjoy that this has apparently been created and that it was created here in the good old US of A.
On top of all else JP Morgan has done for themselves but against the American people and against the country, here's one of their executives who a) apparently lied to a court, under oath then, b) said she did (lied to the court) so that c) "the nation's top energy regulator is poised to extract a record settlement from JPMorgan Chase over accusations...it manipulated power markets" but, voila!, d) this JP Morgan Chase executive is going to apparently get off, scott-free from any charges.
JPM Chase will no doubt pay a huge fine, a penalty, then disavow any guilt and again, the executive will walk.
Isn't that just a nice, neat little package?
I'm sure the same would happen for you or I, even though we're middle- or lower-class and have no such millions or billions of dollars behind us.
Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.
The occasion for these observations is, as you may have guessed, the monstrous farm bill the House passed last week.
For decades, farm bills have had two major pieces. One piece offers subsidies to farmers; the other offers nutritional aid to Americans in distress, mainly in the form of food stamps (these days officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).
Long ago, when subsidies helped many poor farmers, you could defend the whole package as a form of support for those in need. Over the years, however, the two pieces diverged. Farm subsidies became a fraud-ridden program that mainly benefits corporations and wealthy individuals. Meanwhile food stamps became a crucial part of the social safety net.
So House Republicans voted to maintain farm subsidies — at a higher level than either the Senate or the White House proposed — while completely eliminating food stamps from the bill.
To fully appreciate what just went down, listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.”
It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy.
Now, some enemies of food stamps don’t quote libertarian philosophy; they quote the Bible instead. Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, for example, cited the New Testament: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sure enough, it turns out that Mr. Fincher has personally received millions in farm subsidies...
What is it about, then? Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness, a contempt for what CNBC’s Rick Santelli, in the famous rantthat launched the Tea Party, called “losers.” If you’re an American, and you’re down on your luck, these people don’t want to help; they want to give you an extra kick. I don’t fully understand it, but it’s a terrible thing to behold.
Our own US House of Representatives proposed 39 different bills in Washington, all to undo the Affordable Care Act--"Obamacare."
All that time, all that energy, wasted.
And all that time and energy to help the health insurance companies and corporations make and keep big, big money, all on the backs of working Americans.
Did they propose a jobs bill?
Did they propose an infrastructure/construction/projects bill so we can update our roads and bridges and highways and, at the same time, create work and jobs and paychecks for those same working Americans?
You bet they didn't.
We've had 2 bridges in our nation collapse and I say again, our own Interstate 70, from St. Louis and Illinois on the East through Columbia to Kansas City and the Kansas border on the West needs updating and widening and improving horribly yet Congress proposes and votes 39 times on eliminating this helpful, strong legislation that already happens to be law.
In case you missed this article yesterday, see how much it's already helping over one half million New Yorkers, already:
What's magnificent, too, about all this is that the health insurance companies can raise and are raising the costs for health care insurance which benefits them in the short term but also benefits them because it appears that this legislation, "Obamacare", is causing the increases in costs. It's beautiful for them, if not deeply, deeply cynical, immoral and virtually inhumane.
Ironically, "big business" needs these fixes of Obamacare and has been calling for help of this sort for years, too.
This is insane. It's hypocritical, it's against the American people and it's wrong. These votes need to end. Congress needs to pass a budget and we need, again, a jobs/projects/infrastructure bill, along with immigration reform but they waste their time and our money on this.
It's maddening, obscene and grossly wrong, is a lot of ways and needs to end.
It's not just how long you live that matters. It's healthy life expectancy – the additional years of good health you can expect once you hit 65.
And by that measure, a new analysis shows it makes a lot of difference where Americans live.
Hawaiians are lucky in more than their idyllic weather and gorgeous scenery. Seniors there can expect a little more than 16 years of healthy life after 65. Women in Hawaii can expect more than 17 years.
At the other extreme, Mississippi's seniors have less than 11 years of healthy life. Older black Mississippians have only eight years, lower than anywhere except, oddly, African-Americans in Iowa, with seven years.
The national average is 14 years. That is, the average 65-year-old American can expect good health until age 79 – a little more for women, a little less for men.
And if you check out that chart, above, you'll see, as the title today tells, Missouri ranks down with Mississippi, for pity's sake, and lots of other Southern states for some of the worst longevity in the nation.
And we don't need to improve and change our health care system, eh? Right?
Not to be done there, here's a real kicker, too:
Obviously, socioeconomic status is a common denominator in all these factors, but it's not just a matter of having more money – or spending more on health care.
That's borne out by a different study published earlier this month in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.
It compared the United States with 34 other developed countries in how long their populations live and how healthy they remain. It's part of an ambitious effort by a group called the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators.
Strikingly, the U.S. rank declined on every measure of longevity and good health between 1990 and 2010. On "healthy life expectancy," the US went from 14th place to 26th over those two decades – while its already disproportionately high health care spending spiraled ever higher.
We have to keep in mind, as this points out above, America has teh most expensive health care system in the world yet we're getting some of the worst health outcomes of all the 17 industrial nations in the world we're compared to.
Again, we don't need to fix our health care system?
State insurance regulators say they have approved rates for 2014 that are at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York. Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to shop for health insurance for as little as $308 monthly. With federal subsidies, the cost will be even lower.
Supporters of the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, credited the drop in rates to the online purchasing exchanges the law created, which they say are spurring competition among insurers that are anticipating an influx of new customers. The law requires that an exchange be started in every state.
“Health insurance has suddenly become affordable in New York,” said Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president for health initiatives with the Community Service Society of New York. “It’s not bargain-basement prices, but we’re going from Bergdorf’s to Filene’s here.”
“The extraordinary decline in New York’s insurance rates for individual consumers demonstrates the profound promise of the Affordable Care Act,” she added.
Administration officials, long confronted by Republicans and other critics of President Obama’s signature law, were quick to add New York to the list of states that appear to be successfully carrying out the law and setting up exchanges.
You know, those health insurance exchanges that Missourians and Kansans won't be getting, at least no time soon, because the Republican majorities in their respective state houses won't set them up?
Just one more pesky "inconvenient truth", it seems. That danged man in the White House. First he presides over the stock market bouncing back and the economy improving and now this. Disgusting, isn't it? Link: The Obamacare Shock