Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Right-wing governors who refused Medicaid expansion force their state taxpayers to pick up the tab for states that did expand Medicaid
Georgia’s Grady Memorial Hospital loses $45 million
The 20 states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act help pay for the expanded Medicaid program in other states…
A Commonwealth Fund Study found Texas, Florida, Georgia,and Virginia were the biggest losers among states not expanding Medicaid because they are forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds, while residents in their states are contributing to the cost of the expansions in other states…
…Researchers explained federal funds that pay for state Medicaid programs are raised through federal general revenue collection — taxes paid by residents in all states — whether or not they participate in the program.
Therefore, taxpayers in states not participating in the Medicaid expansion will bear a share of the overall cost for Medicaid, without benefiting from the expanded program in the 20 states. Glied and Ma estimated the net loss of federal funds to states that do not expand Medicaid by using projected federal Medicaid spending in each state and calculating the federal Medicaid-related taxes paid by each state…
After taking into account federal taxes paid by state residents, states with the highest net losses include Texas, which will see a net loss of $9.2 billion in 2022; Florida, which will lose $5 billion; Georgia, which will lose $2.9 billion and Virginia will lose $2.8 billion, the study said.
Meanwhile, in states that chose not to expand Medicaid, hospitals are planning budget cuts because of the loss of patients that expanded Medicaid would have provided…
Nothing puts the lie to Republican blather about fiscal responsibility than decisions like this. Allegiance to ideology opposing benefits for the poor and working poor, rooted in petty fury over losing yet another election to someone who doesn’t fit the populist mold of White and Right…guaranteed these fools would decide to block an opportunity to aid the poorest of their state populations. Making it certain in the process that state taxpayers would not only pay for the loss; but, pick up the tab for states where elected officials decided in favor of expanding healthcare.
They will continue to campaign on the lie that they saved people money – when all they guaranteed was increasing poverty, ill-health and a harder life for many of their fellow Americans. They are liars and criminals.
The Civil War might be long over, but a battle about putting a monument honoring Union soldiers at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park in Florida is still underway.
The proposal to install a monument at the park — the site of the biggest Civil War battle fought in Florida — was met with opposition on Monday night during a public hearing…
Each year, Olustee hosts a reenactment of a four-hour battle in which Union forces were routed by Confederate troops…
A descendant of someone who died at the Battle of Olustee, Mike Farrell, proposed the new memorial because of his experience serving as an historical exhibitor at the park.
“I always have the visiting public approach me and ask me where the Union monument is on the battlefield, and I often tell them, ‘There isn’t any.’…What I’m talking about is a battlefield monument,” Farrell said.
Republican state Rep. Dennis Baxley…proposed halting the monument from within the state house. “I can do a very simple proposal to the Legislature that we protect all monument sites,” he said.
Racists have grown more practiced in the semantics-based lies they use to answer questions about bigoted proposals. I guess that in itself is recognition of growing understanding among Americans still dull enough to be suckered into rightwing politics. They don’t care to admit publicly how much of their craptastic chicanery is proposed to satisfy racism, justify slavery.
They’re only kidding themselves. The rest of the nation looks and nods – “Yes, these are the village idiots who continue to think they weren’t defeated by the strength of the Union. They believe the South will rise again and Jim Crow laws will be reinstated.”
Illustrating once again how easy it was for Nixon to decide on the Southern Strategy, just how easy it was for Republicans to lock up the bigot vote.
Not a month goes by without former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, unleashing new government surveillance allegations, but on Wednesday, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell: The NSA is tracking cellphones around the world at a rate of almost five billion records per day. This revelation is particularly shocking because it affirms fears that the government is keeping tabs on the physical location of Americans.
1. The NSA can find you in a hotel and can probably tell if you’re having an affair…
2. Americans are definitely being tracked, but providing the exact number is “awkward”…
3. All the collected location data wouldn’t fit in the Library of Congress…
4. Don’t bother trying to hide. The NSA knows if you’re trying to avoid them…
5. And you don’t need to be a suspect to be targeted…
The Feds say that this kind of data collection is not protected by the Fourth Amendment; so, as far as Uncle Sugar is concerned, we’re all legitimate targets.
Read the full report over here.
China’s yuan currency overtook the euro in October, becoming the second-most used currency in trade finance, global transaction services organization SWIFT said on Tuesday.
The market share of yuan usage in trade finance, or Letters of Credit and Collection, grew to 8.66 percent in October 2013. That improved from 1.89 percent in January 2012.
The yuan, also known as the renminbi, now ranks behind the U.S. dollar, which remains the leading currency with a share of 81.08 percent…
Yup. A long way to go to be competitive. Though, anyone who thinks the RMB will fall by the wayside anytime soon – is deluded.
The top five countries using the yuan for trade finance in October were China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia, SWIFT said in a statement.
“The RMB is clearly a top currency for trade finance globally and even more so in Asia,” Franck de Praetere, SWIFT’s Asia Pacific head of payments and trade markets said…
The world’s second-largest economy is accelerating the pace of financial reform to promote its currency to international players beyond Hong Kong. China aims to lift the yuan’s global clout and reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar.
Even though the dimwits in Congress still run their trick bag on the American public about Chinese currency being manipulated as cheap – to steal business – they know nothing about ForEx or global biz. It’s been a few years since the PBOC stopped pegging the RMB to the US dollar and it’s only gone in one direction since. Up, up. About a third of a percent, yesterday.
The Western moneyboys are jostling each other in the peloton to get to the front on converting yuan to euros and dollars – and vice versa. The Swiss and the Brits mostly in the lead. This month.
Joerg Sarbach/AP Photo
More than half a million 15-year-olds around the world took the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2012. The test, which is administered every three years and focuses largely on math, but includes minor sections in science and reading, is often used as a snapshot of the global state of education…
Not much has changed since 2000, when the U.S. scored along the OECD average in every subject: This year, the U.S. scores below average in math and ranks 17th among the 34 OECD countries. It scores close to the OECD average in science and reading and ranks 21st in science and 17th in reading…
On average, 13 percent of students scored at the highest or second highest level on the PISA test, making them “top performers.” Fifty-five percent of students in Shanghai-China were considered top performers, while only nine percent of American students were.
One in four U.S. students did not reach the PISA baseline level 2 of mathematics proficiency. At this level, “students begin to demonstrate the skills that will enable them to participate effectively and productively in life,” according to the PISA report…
The U.S. ranks fifth in spending per student. Only Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland spend more per student. To put this in context: the Slovak Republic, which scores similarly to the U.S., spends $53,000 per student. The U.S. spends $115,000. The PISA report notes that, among OECD countries, “higher expenditure on education is not highly predictive of better mathematics scores in PISA.”
Much like health care, Americans who believe nothing counts better than dollars probably still believe we have the best education in the world – regardless of test results, in spite of diminishing GDP marching downhill in parallel to PISA scores.
In fact, it’s becoming fashionable on a couple of fronts to reject test scores like these. Aside from old-fogies fearful of furriners, the teaching infrastructure from the NEA to bloated bureaucratic structures won’t agree to any streamlining – even if we try to copy the Finnish model placing teachers into the upper pay scale of education and employment.
The grade school I attended had over 600 pupils K-8, 18 teachers, 1 janitor, a school nurse, 1 principal and a secretary. What does the employment roll look like in anything comparable in your town or city?
My school was typical of the several in a medium-sized New England factory town. Last time I checked on Albuquerque, New Mexico, the number of folks on the payroll of the city’s school board was one employee for every student [updated].
Yes, this is one of the easiest hot buttons to push on my brain. Because I received a pretty good education – supplemented by what my family came up with for my sister and me via books they bought and the neighborhood Carnegie library. Over the 9 years of that K-8 school, we had exactly 3 dropouts. And they were considered an anomaly. Ne’er-do-wells who only sat there waiting to be old enough to quit.
RTFA. Not too long for all the details and categories included. Think about it. I hope you get pissed off enough to apply pressure to the sensitive parts of your local politicians.
Can you say “DUH” in unison?
A senior State Department official, responding to critics of plans to relocate the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican, said criticism is based on “a series or myths.”…The embassy will be moved to a larger U.S. compound in Rome that houses the embassy to Italy and the U.S. Mission to the U.N. offices, Politico reported.
The move is to be completed by 2015, and is expected to save more than $1.4 million and increase security, the official…said during a conference call with reporters.
News of the move touched off a flurry of criticism in right-wing media, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joined in, saying in a Twitter post: “Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee created a petition this week asserting, “President Obama plans to close the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican…”
“I think there are a series of myths that are running around out there,” the State Department official said.
He said no country has an embassy in Vatican City, as critics of the move assert, and he said there is no truth to claims that the move will include “changing the residence of the Ambassador to the Holy See. I have seen that as well. The Ambassador’s residence is not part of this at all.”
“The third [myth] is that this represents a downsizing of our presence when this happens,” he said. “That is not true as well. Our diplomatic presence will remain one of the largest missions accredited to the Holy See, and that there is no reduction in our diplomatic staff in this process.”
He said all diplomatic embassies are located in Rome, not Vatican City.
American religious nutballs probably qualify for world leadership in paranoia and lies about being oppressed. Given the amount of energy they dedicate to shutting down civil liberties, civil rights and freedom for every minority they can think of – no doubt they hold the record for hypocrisy as well.
The 2009 H1N1 “swine flu” epidemic killed up to 203,000 people across the globe — a death toll 10 times greater than initially estimated by the World Health Organization…
In a study published Tuesday in the journal Plos Medicine, epidemiologists used data on respiratory deaths in 20 nations to calculate a global mortality rate for the pandemic…
“This study confirms that the H1N1 virus killed many more people globally than originally believed,” read a statement from Lone Simonsen, a research professor in the Department of Global Health at George Washington University.
“We also found that the mortality burden of this pandemic fell most heavily on younger people and those living in certain parts of the Americas,” Simonsen said…
The relatively modest number of deaths estimated by the WHO prompted some to question whether the overall response to the 2009 outbreak was excessive. However, Simonsen and her colleagues argued that lab-confirmed influenza deaths would underestimate the broad reach of the illness.
“Many influenza-related deaths result from secondary bacterial infections or from exacerbation of preexisting chronic conditions, and are not recorded as related to influenza infection,” authors wrote…
The sampled nations represented 35% of the world’s population, and researchers then used statistical methods to calculate mortality rates for all nations.
The authors noted that their conclusions were limited by a lack of data from poor nations, and other factors.
“The true total mortality burden is likely to be even higher because deaths that occurred late in the winter of 2009-2010 and in later pandemic waves were missed in this analysis, and only pandemic influenza deaths that were recorded as respiratory deaths were included,” authors wrote.
Researchers said that if deaths due to cardiovascular disease and other causes were included, the death toll might be as high as 400,000.
There’s a shamefully large number of bureaucrats who would like to keep infection and death statistics from pandemics as low as possible. Their reasoning stretches from keeping public health budgets as low as possible to fears of discouraging tourism.
At the other end of the spectrum is the collective folly of libertarians who resent any suggestion of “public” health concerns and their cousins in the God-will-save-my-butt crowd. Same result.
Pope Francis condemned trickle-down economics and the world of inequality and exclusion it fosters in the first apostolic exhortation of his papacy:
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.”
Many of the pontiff’s criticisms of trickle-down economics are true of the American experience. The policies that began with Ronald Reagan have not benefited middle and working class Americans, while deregulation spawned a reckless financial system that nearly destroyed the financial industry in a historic recession — a recession in which the most affluent have rebounded from far more easily than other Americans. Three decades of high-income tax cuts have proven equally ineffective. The Bush tax cuts aided the wealthy but did not reach the middle and lower classes as promised, resulting instead in “the worst wage and salary growth and total compensation growth of any postwar economic expansion.” In short, the wealth never trickled down…
Free enterprise Florida style
The mayor of Hampton, Barry Layne Moore, was arrested Monday afternoon in Polk County after a Bradford County Sheriff’s Office investigation revealed he had obtained and sold oxycodone…
A deputy was given information while working on an unrelated investigation that alleged Moore was selling prescription medication. That led to the extended investigation by the agency’s drug unit.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies served an arrest warrant with a bond of $45,000 for Moore and took him to the Polk County Jail.
“This isn’t Toronto. We will not tolerate illegal drug activity, in my jurisdiction, by anyone to include our elected officials,” Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith said, referring to Mayor Rob Ford who has admitted to smoking crack cocaine.
Capt. Brad Smith, spokesman for the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office, said Moore has been charged with one count of possession of a Schedule I or II drug — in this case, oxycodone — and one count of possession with the intent to sell, both of which are felonies.
Florida family values apparently extend to all levels of government. The governor’s previous business paid the largest fine in history for Medicare fraud. A leading Republican light in Congress was just busted for cocaine use. Now we have the mayor of small town Florida caught in the state’s leading illegal business – selling oxycodone.
America’s corrupt politicians apparently have decided there’s more profit to be made – and pleasure gained – from illegal drug sales than old fashioned theft from taxpayers.