Posts Tagged ‘insurance’
* I left for Thanksgiving travel in a rush and wasn’t able to post a link to my traditional Thanksgiving post.
“The birds are then, in proverbial fashion, said to live happily ever after. In reality, however, they are usually killed within a year and stand-in turkeys are supplied. This goes on year after year. The chosen birds are killed because they have been engineered and packed with hormones to the point that they are unfit for any other purpose than their own slaughter and consumption. They are fast-forward turkeys. Presidential turkey caretakers have explained that most succumb rather quickly to joint disease—their frail joints simply cannot bear the weight of their artificially enhanced bodies. The sturdiest survivors may live a little more than a year. But the birds are always finally put out of their growing misery. Then they are buried nearby in a presidential turkey cemetery—the ritualistic significance of which remains to be explored. (May the archaeologists of the future excavate it!)”
The reason that these turkeys are so ill suited for their lives of freedom is that they are supplied by the National Turkey Federation. They are products of industrial farms, bred to grow fat quick rather than live long. Much could be said about the fact that corporate lobby’s interests trumps even the symbolism of the ceremony, making even the pardon itself a lie within a lie.
* To pardon, after all, is to forgive. And, if we’re talking about a turkey, it becomes difficult to discern what criminal or immoral behavior on the bird’s part may be said to establish the necessary preconditions for its forgiveness.
* If Walmart were a country, its GDP (US$443.9bn) would be greater than that of South Africa’s ($422bn). Visa would be bigger than Zimbabwe, Wells Fargo dwarfs Angola, and eBay, Amazon, Costco, Proctor & Gamble would swamp Madagascar, Kenya, Sudan and Libya respectively.
I am very reluctant to speak of “climate change adaptation” in this connection, because I feel that that phrase is a seized term, like “sustainable development,” and both are coded ways of saying “business as usual” or “capitalism must endure no matter the damages.” Because of that I think we should still be insisting on “climate change mitigation” as the appropriate task for our time. Ultimately, however, the entire biosphere will be adapting to the new physical conditions we are creating by our impacts, and we are going to have to get involved with that adaptation to make the best of it, meaning keeping the number of extinctions to a minimum, and trying to steer the biosphere toward best outcomes for all the species on the planet. This is necessary, because all the species together form one single supra-organism, and the health of all together determines the health of any individual species, including ourselves. Because of that reality, inhabiting the Earth successfully in the centuries to come will necessarily be a utopian project. It’s become a case of utopia or catastrophe.
* Outstanding achievements in bullshitting: John Podhoretz.
* Chevy Chase Is Leaving Community, Effective Immediately. Bring back Dan Harmon? It’s not too late!
* And finally: Zissou vs. the whale.
* Destroy your university the California way: In California, where public higher education has experienced cut after cut, the choices are particularly difficult. For the spring semester of 2013, the California State University has told campus leaders they may not admit any Californian students to graduate programs. Given that tuition covers only a fraction of the costs of these students’ education, the university said it couldn’t afford them.
* At the trial, the guy who killed my sister was defended by Progressive’s legal team. If you are insured by Progressive, and they owe you money, they will defend your killer in court in order to not pay you your policy.
15. Kummerspeck (German) Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
Living in an Orwellian corporate world where “mancams” serve as the eyes of a shadowy figure known only as Management, Leth (Waltz) works on a solution to the strange theorem while living as a virtual cloistered monk in his home–the shattered interior of a fire-damaged chapel. His isolation and work are interrupted now and then by surprise visits from Bainsley, a flamboyantly lusty love interest who tempts him with “tantric biotelemetric interfacing” (virtual sex) and Bob. Latter is the rebellious whiz-kid teenage son of Management who, with a combination of insult-comedy and an evolving true friendship, spurs on Qohen’s efforts at solving the theorem…Bob creates a virtual reality “inner-space” suit that will carry Qohen on an inward voyage, a close encounter with the hidden dimensions and truth of his own soul, wherein lie the answers both he and Management are seeking. The suit and supporting computer technology will perform an inventory of Qohen’s soul, either proving or disproving the Zero Theorem.
It’s a tale as old as time itself.
* The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.
* And our long national nightmare is (nearly) almost over: Keanu Reeves teases Bill & Ted 3.
Guha thought he was being proactive. After arriving at Arizona State University in 2009 as a doctoral student in the School of Sustainability, he enrolled in the university’s insurance plan through Aetna Insurance and paid more than $400 each month to add his wife to the plan.
The plan wasn’t known for its generosity – it didn’t cover prescription drugs – but Guha thought he’d at least be covered if tragedy struck.
And last January, tragedy did strike. Just after his 30th birthday, he received the cancer diagnosis and started an intensive chemotherapy regimen two hours away in Tucson. Back in Tempe, his Arizona State professors allowed him to Skype into class discussions when he wasn’t feeling well.
But late last month, the cost of his treatment eclipsed $300,000, the lifetime maximum benefit on Arizona State’s Aetna plan. Guha found himself uninsured.
* “A lifetime achievement award is a little alarming,” said Jameson, who came to Duke in 1985. “But on the other hand, it’s very nice to have the recognition.”
* Your democracy at work: Barack Obama Has, on Average, Attended a Fundraiser Every 5 Days in 2011.
* Matt Stoller: When a switch in the party in power does not result in policy changes, there’s little point in electoral politics.
* And just to counter that cynicism a bit: arguably one of the more important (and more progressive) components of the ACA took effect yesterday, the requirement that health insurance companies spend at least 80% of premiums on actual health care. UPDATE: Countering the counter-cynicism, Tim Worstall says this probably isn’t a big deal after all.
* As is standard journalistic practice, the New York Times has allocated space for an accused child molester to tell his side of the story.
* If Duke is one of eleven campuses with “major Occupy movements,” I fear for the movement. Occupy Duke was genuinely tiny, and the #occupyduke hashtag is comprised almost exclusively of mockery and contempt.
* Occupy Commencement: UNC students are petitioning against Michael Bloomberg as commencement speaker.
* And Reuters selects the best 100 photos of 2011. Here’s #72:
* Talking Points Memo is all over science fiction news today: “New Computer Program Predicts Likelihood Of Violent Civil Unrest Abroad” and Lockheed Martin invents the holodeck.
* There’s lots of chatter about the Affordable Care Act on my innertubes today, ranging from arguments towards its (obvious) constitutionality and against its supposed unprecedentedness to another at TPM that notes the end of an asserted national consensus about the desirability of universal health care as such to still another that rallies ’round the Affordable Care Act the Ezra Klein Way.
Every day, dozens of reporters and bloggers cover the Big Three’s reform campaign, but critical in-depth investigations have been scarce (for reasons I’ll explain further on). Meanwhile, evidence is mounting that the reforms are not working. Stanford University’s 2009 study of charter schools—the most comprehensive ever done—concluded that 83 percent of them perform either worse or no better than traditional public schools; a 2010 Vanderbilt University study showed definitively that merit pay for teachers does not produce higher test scores for students; a National Research Council report confirmed multiple studies that show standardized test scores do not measure student learning adequately. Gates and Broad helped to shape and fund two of the nation’s most extensive and aggressive school reform programs—in Chicago and New York City—but neither has produced credible improvement in student performance after years of experimentation.
To justify their campaign, ed reformers repeat, mantra-like, that U.S. students are trailing far behind their peers in other nations, that U.S. public schools are failing. The claims are specious. Two of the three major international tests—the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and the Trends in International Math and Science Study—break down student scores according to the poverty rate in each school. The tests are given every five years. The most recent results (2006) showed the following: students in U.S. schools where the poverty rate was less than 10 percent ranked first in reading, first in science, and third in math. When the poverty rate was 10 percent to 25 percent, U.S. students still ranked first in reading and science. But as the poverty rate rose still higher, students ranked lower and lower. Twenty percent of all U.S. schools have poverty rates over 75 percent. The average ranking of American students reflects this. The problem is not public schools; it is poverty. And as dozens of studies have shown, the gap in cognitive, physical, and social development between children in poverty and middle-class children is set by age three.
* The headline reads, “Scientists warn California could be struck by winter ‘superstorm.’”
* “It reaches into virtually every corner of our media and digital landscapes and will affect every citizen in the land,” he said. “It is new media as well as old; it is news and information as well as sports and entertainment; it is distribution as well as content. And it confers too much power in one company’s hands.” The FCC has approved the Comcast/NBC Universal merger.
* And a quick TAPPED post points out something commentators on the changing demographics of the United States frequently forget:
Hispanics — like Italians and Irish before them — are on the path to becoming “white,” and as intermarriage rates increase — and the racial divide moves from white/black to non-black/black — odds are good that the children of these unions will be perceived as white. In 2050, the United States won’t be majority-minority as much as it will be a place where a nice portion of the majority has Latino heritage…
It’s an exciting week for players of “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?”: it isn’t! At least not according to U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson. This now places the tally at either 2-1 or 14-1, depending on how you count—though of course the real determinant of the constitutionality of health care reform will still be however Anthony Kennedy feels when he wakes up that morning, just like the Founders intended. Tim Jost from Washington and Lee University Law School says “This decision is very defective .. and will be reversed by the appellate court or the Supreme Court.” Orin Kerr (no liberal) agrees, claiming the decision is significantly flawed insofar as it misunderstands the relationship between the Necessary and Proper Clause and the Commerce Clause.
It’s at this point we might observe that it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. I’m surprised Hudson didn’t recuse himself in light of this.
In any event, the consequences of this decision if it is eventually upheld by SCOTUS remain unclear. Ezra Klein thinks the good news is that even a right-leaning judge like Hudson limited his decision to the mandate, despite plaintiff request; that’s a good sign for the constitutionality of the rest of ACA. Some progressives think the law is actually better without the mandate. And the health insurance lobby can’t be happy with this decision:
If you strike the individual mandate but leave the rest, you have a system that could easily be patched up with a better mechanism to avoid free-riding. The real loser here is the health insurance lobby. Health insurers would have preferred to avoid any health care reform at all. But the health insurance lobby’s second-highest priority would be a working system with an individual mandate. A world in which they cannot discriminate against sick people but in which healthy people can avoid buying insurance until they’re sick is a nightmare.
* I hope someday my admirers are moved to unearth my terrible college fiction: Wes Anderson’s “The Ballad of Reading Milton” (1989).
* The true size of Africa. Also has the true side of Australia and the USA as a bonus.
* Liberal blogs are trotting out cell phone effect again. Looks like it’s time to call November for the GOP.
* “In these challenging economic times, it’s good to know you can get some financial protection for unexpected illness and injury to your pets,” the e-mail reads before listing the many benefits. Federal Employees Can Purchase Health Insurance For Their Pets, But Not Their Same-Sex Partners.
* Running it up the flagpole: Wheel of Fortune‘s Pat Sajak argues at National Review Online that public employees shouldn’t be allowed to vote in at last some state and local state elections.
* And in twenty years, we’ll need another Earth to sustain us. Time to get building.
When the FBI again took an interest in Zinn in the 1960s, documents show the bureau evidently tried to have the historian fired from his job as professor at Boston University.In a document from the Boston FBI office (see PDF file here), an FBI “source,” whose name was redacted from the publicly released documents, was quoted as being outraged over Zinn’s comment at a protest that the US had become a “police state” and that prosecutions of Black Panther Party members were creating “political prisoners.”
The bureau’s Boston office then indicated it wanted to help the source in his or her campaign to unseat Zinn. “[The] Boston proposes under captioned program with Bureau permission to furnish [name redacted] with public source data regarding Zinn’s numerous anti-war activities … in an effort to back [redacted] efforts for his removal.”
* Surprising no one, North Korea is doing the World Cup wrong.
* In the wake of strong U.S. government statements condemning WikiLeaks’ recent publishing of 77,000 Afghan War documents, the secret-spilling site has posted a mysterious encrypted file labeled “insurance.” The MetaFilter thread is rife with speculation about what might be in the file; about whether the government has been given the key, or indeed if Assange knows there really is an NSA-backdoor in AES256 after all; about who is and isn’t incentivized to murder Assange as a result of this upload; and about which classic cyberpunk writer this whole storyline was stolen from.
* The latest in the $45/$200,000,000 Ansel Adams negatives saga: the interesting copyright issues involved have been short-circuited by the revelation that the negatives are probably the work of someone’s Uncle Earl.
* Science—well, Nature—says we wouldn’t miss mosquitoes.
* And RSA Animate animates Slavoj Žižek on charity and consumerism. Charity degrades and demoralizes. It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property… Via MeFi.
* In the wake of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies have announced new plans to screw sick kids for money. As the Eschaton link notes, strategies to deny coverage to their captive customers are always, necessarily, a huge part of the business model for these companies. This is why they’re so hard to effectively regulate. I sincerely wish we could find the political will for single payer, if only to stop Nicholas Sarkosy’s taunts.
* Job growth in March? That’s not just good news for March, that’s good news for Democrats in November.
* Cuba in the 1930s.
* Back to the Hugos and Blogging the Hugos.
* Scarface as school play. This seemed so much more endearing in Rushmore.
* Change we can believe in: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announces “the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”
* Will Smith to make two totally unnecessary Independence Day sequels. The title? Of course, it’s ID4-Ever. This is the monster who is ruining Foundation. He must be stopped.
* And the end of independent bookstores. Lots of factors here, of which the iPhone/Droid “barcode scanner” is just the latest. It’s terrible to watch.
* The team behind Logicomix explains structuralism.
* It really does look like health care will pass. The CBO score is good. The left is (mostly) happy again. The votes are (mostly) there. Insurance companies keep turning out to be totally terrible. Rahm is stretching for his totally undeserved victory lap. Alterman says Kucinich gets a victory lap too. Steve Benen thinks we all get one. Hooray!
* Obama Economic Team Outlook Presumes No Job Growth For All of 2010. Yes, we … oh, forget it.
* More March Madness: America’s Greatest Living American Abstract Painter Tournament.
* NC-Sen: Richard “Dick” Burr still leads his opponents but remains under 50%. This is winnable.
* Okay, fine, one more. That’s what Bea said.