Posts Tagged ‘insurance’
* The big story in academia yesterday was the eleventh-hour preemptive firing of Steven Salaita from UIUC (which according to reports may have cost him his tenure at Virginia Tech as well). Especially disturbing in all this is the participation of former AAUP president Cary Nelson, on the side of the firing. Some commentary from Corey Robin, Claire Potter, Philip Weiss, and Electronic Intifada. A statement for the Illinois AAUP. A petition.
* Delayed gratification watch: This week I finally cracked and read Chris Ware’s Building Stories after nearly two years of anticipation. So great. I can’t wait to teach it. I may write more about this later, but for now I can tell you that my arbitrary path through the book told a beautiful story that began with the couple’s fateful move to Englewood and drifted backwards in time, Ulysses-like, to the day the couple met, before culminating in a quietly nostalgic trip to the eponymous building as it stood about to be torn down. So great. My friend Jacob’s review. “I Hoped That the Book Would Just Be Fun”: A Brief Interview with Chris Ware.
* Call for applications: Wisconsin Poet Laureate.
* I was born too early: N.Y.U. to Add a Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design.
* I was born too late: MIT looking into paying professors by the word.
* College rankings, 1911. Class III! How dare they. #impeachTaft
* State’s rights we can believe in: New Jersey drivers may be able to ignore other states’ speed cameras.
* The Lost Projects of Dan Harmon. In addition to Building Stories, I also cracked this week and finally started watching Rick and Morty. Now, granted, it’s no Building Stories — but it’s pretty good!
* The New Inquiry‘s “Mourning” issue is out today and has some really nice essays I think I’ll be using in the second go of my Cultural Preservation course next spring.
* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Insurance Company Pays Elderly Man’s Workman’s Comp Settlement With $21,000 in Coins.
* Department of diminishing returns: The British Office: The Movie.
* And the kind of headline where I really don’t want any details: NASA: New “impossible” engine works, could change space travel forever. Second star to the right, and straight on till morning…
* We are ruled by fools: The amount of airtime granted to climate change on both the Sunday shows and the nightly news was up, too — to a total of 27 minutes, and an hour and 42 minutes, respectively, for the entire year.
* So long and thanks for all the fish: Freedom Industries has declared bankruptcy.
* Remember that most of the “steps” any insurance company or pharmacy makes you go through are pretty much nothing but hoops, in the purest sense of the word. These are obstacles being placed in your path in hopes that you will become discouraged and give up—and they won’t have to pay for your medication or treatment. Show them that you are not going away.
* The headline reads, “Six Years After Chemical Ban, Fewer Female Snails Are Growing Penises.”
* BREAKING MUST CREDIT CANAVAN’S RAZOR: The point of the STEM push is to lower STEM wages, not help people get jobs that don’t exist.
* BREAKING: Comedians are
psychopaths psychotics. See comments.
* Wisconsin may eliminate ban on 7-day work weeks. Workers will be allowed to “volunteer” for extra work.
* 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.