Saturday, May 31, 2014

GOP Douche Nozzles: Obama Broke The Law With Prisoner Exchange

The White House agreed that actions were taken in spite of legal requirements and cited "unique and exigent circumstances" as justification.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, of Hailey, Idaho, was handed over to U.S. special operations forces by the Taliban. In return, five Afghans who were held at a U.S. detention facility in Cuba were released to the custody of the government of Qatar, which served as a go-between in negotiations for the trade.
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of California and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma said in a statement that Obama is required by law to notify Congress 30 days before any terrorists are transferred from the U.S. facility. They said Obama also is required to explain how the threat posed by such terrorists has been substantially mitigated.
McKeon is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Inhofe is the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In response, the White House said it moved as quickly as possible given the opportunity that arose to secure Bergdahl's release. Citing "these unique and exigent circumstances," the White House said a decision was made to go ahead with the transfer despite the legal requirement of 30 days advance notice to Congress.
While saying they celebrate Bergdahl's release, McKeon and Inhofe warned that the exchange "may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans."
"Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk," they said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said in a statement that "the safe return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is an answer to the prayers of the Bergdahl family and a powerful reinforcement of our nation's commitment to leave no service member behind."

Monday, May 26, 2014

Miss. Judge Allegedly Struck, Yelled Slur At Mentally Disabled Black Man

TPM

The family of Eric Rivers, 20, filed a complaint against Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger, who is white, accusing him of striking Rivers at the market on May 8 in Canton, Miss.
"This is 2014, not 1960, where someone could slap a young man and call out, 'Run, n-----, run,'" former Canton Mayor William Truly, now president of the Canton branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told the Clarion-Ledger.
An apparent witness, Tammy Westbrook, told the newspaper Rivers was offering to help flea market vendors unload their goods when Weisenberger slapped him twice, then yelled "run, n----, run" as he fled. Westbrook and her sister, a vendor at the flea market, recalled that they thought Weisenberger was a law enforcement officer because he was wearing a security guard's uniform.
Weisenberger did not respond to the Clarion-Ledger's requests for comment.
The local NAACP head told the newspaper that he plans to file further complaints against Weisenberger and expects a grand jury will eventually hear the case.
"No citizen should have to face justice before a judge who holds such a high degree of racial animus and hatred," Truly said Friday in a news conference, as quoted by the Clarion-Ledger.

Friday, May 23, 2014

China sentences mining tycoon Liu Han to death

2014 AFP

A Chinese court on Friday convicted a mining billionaire said to have links with former security tsar Zhou Yongkang of murder and sentenced him to death.
Liu Han led private company Hanlong, which once launched a billion-dollar bid for an Australian firm. He and his brother Liu Wei were found guilty of "organising and leading a mafia-style group", murder and other crimes, the Xianning Intermediate People's Court said.
They and three accomplices were sentenced to death.
The Liu brothers' gang, based in the southwestern province of Sichuan, killed eight people and wounded many others over nearly 20 years, the court said in a posting on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.
"Liu Han and Liu Wei had extremely malicious intentions, their acts were exceptionally atrocious, their social influences were extremely vile and their crimes and the consequences were extremely serious," it said. "They should be severely punished according to the law."
Another 31 accused were given penalties ranging from suspended death sentences -- normally commuted to life imprisonment -- to three years in jail, state media said.
Sichuan is one of the power bases of Zhou Yongkang, who once enjoyed vast power as China's security chief but is now at the centre of rumours about a corruption investigation. He has not been seen in public for months.
The influential business magazine Caixin has reported that Liu Han once had dealings with a businessman believed to be Zhou's son. State media have also hinted that the gang had connections to central government officials.
The verdicts suggest officials are building a case against Zhou Yongkang, said Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University in Beijing.
"These cases are being used to collect evidence against Zhou, I think this verdict is preparation for Zhou's trial," he said.
Senior party leaders "don't want to punish Zhou Yongkang as a political case, but as a corruption case. Although it could be hard to find evidence against him," he added.
Scores of people with connections to Zhou have reportedly been detained in recent months.
"It's not certain whether he will face trial, that depends on how strong his remaining political ties are," Zhang said.
- 'Huge amount of money' -
The court said Friday that the gang were "sheltered by staff members of state organs".
The Beijing News previously quoted a friend of Liu Han as saying that he spent "huge amount of money" to get to know a "leader" in 2001 and from then "rapidly expanded his business to other provinces and foreign countries".
Zhou was the party boss of Sichuan from 1999 to 2002 before he was promoted to China's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, whose members have generally been regarded as untouchable even after retirement.
If the investigation into him is confirmed, it would mark the first time in decades that such a high-ranking figure has been targeted in a formal inquiry, a move that would send shockwaves through China's political elite.
Liu Han's Hanlong group is a diversified firm with interests ranging from tourism to minerals, and has assets of more than 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion).
It launched a takeover bid of more than $1.0 billion for listed Australian iron ore company Sundance Resources in 2011. But the deal collapsed last year after the Chinese firm failed to follow through. Chinese media reports said at the time that Liu Han had been detained.
China's Communist Party authorities have been waging a much-publicised anti-graft campaign in the year since President Xi Jinping came to power.
But critics contend that no systemic reforms have been introduced, and that moves targeting Zhou are intended to sideline a political figure rather than battle corruption.

Radio Hosts Mimic Fox's Transphobia, Promptly Get Fired

MMFA

Two radio hosts in Rochester, NY lost their jobs following a grossly transphobic segment mocking the transgender community. But the vicious comments that got them fired are nearly identical to the kind of transphobic hate speech Fox News regularly peddles to its national audience with impunity.
On May 22, Rochester radio station 98.9 The Buzz announced that it had fired Kimberly and Beck - the hosts of the station's morning talk radio show "The Breakfast Buzz' - following outrage over a segment criticizing Rochester's plan to cover transgender healthcare for employees and their families. According to a statement from Entercom Rochester:
This morning Entercom fired Kimberly and Beck effective immediately. Their hateful comments against the transgender community do not represent our station or our company. We deeply apologize to the transgender community, the community of Rochester, and anyone else who was offended by their hateful comments. We are proud of our past work on behalf of the local LGBT community and we remain committed to that partnership.
The May 21 segment in question was an "atrocious" train wreck of transphobic slurs, misinformation, and hate speech. Kimberly and Beck called transgender people "nut jobs," trivialized the need for transgender health care, and played Aerosmith's Dude Looks Like A Lady throughout the segment. They accused a transgender high school athlete of having an unfair advantage over her opponents and joked about her using her genitals to play baseball. And when a caller expressed disappointment in the hosts' transphobic commentary, another host responded "thank you, sir," in an attempt to mock the caller's gender:



98.9 The Buzz was right to act quickly to shut down Kimberly and Beck's hateful transphobic commentary.
But Kimberly and Beck's comments aren't all that extreme when compared to the way conservative media outlets talk about the transgender community. In reality, the segment might have been entirely unremarkable had it been aired on Fox News.
Playing Dude Looks Like A Lady to mock transgender people? Fox has done it.
Depicting transgender people as delusional or crazy? Checkcheck, and check.
Worrying that transgender people have an unfair advantage in sports? Fox has that covered.
Intentionally misgendering transgender people against their wishes? Common practice at Fox.
Trivializing transgender healthcare as cosmetic or unnecessary? Megyn Kelly is all over it.
Generally making crude jokes at transgender people's expense? You get the idea.
Kimberly and Beck's comments are inexcusable, but they also reached a relatively small audience of listeners. Now that the embattled hosts are looking for work, they might want to consider applying at Fox News. They'll be able to reach a much broader audience without having to worry about any pesky rules against using hate speech.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Metallica S&M 1999 Full Concert

Business That Bashed Obama's OSHA Just Had Horrifying Industrial Accident

WASHINGTON -- During the 2012 presidential campaign, Wisconsin businessman Lance Johnson said President Barack Obama's workplace safety inspectors were burdening him and killing jobs with too much red tape.
"I've never been audited by more government agencies in my life than I have under Obama," Johnson, president of Johnson Brass & Machine Foundry Inc., in Saukville, Wisconsin, told The Wall Street Journal in a Nov. 2, 2012, campaign story.
On Monday, Johnson's foundry was the site of a horrifying industrial accident.
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a "catastrophic failure" of machinery sprayed molten metal on workers, injuring eight and sending four of them to the hospital. According to a statement from Johnson issued Tuesday, the molten metal hit workers on their legs and backs. None of the injuries were life-threatening.
"For more than one hundred years my family has taken great pride in our safety record and our close relationship with our employees," Johnson said in a statement. "As the fourth president of this family-owned business, I can say we are all deeply saddened by the accident at our plant."
Speaking to the Journal in 2012, Johnson claimed that OSHA, which is tasked with monitoring the health and safety of workplaces, was subjecting him to duplicative audits. The story detailed how most of the U.S. business community was throwing its weight behind GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney rather than Obama, in part because of the incumbent president's "aggressive regulators."
That sentiment quite clearly applied to Johnson.
Johnson claimed the cost of dealing with those unnecessary OSHA audits went "well into the six figures." OSHA disputed that the audits were duplicative.
"I would have spent that on more equipment. That would have created more jobs down the line," Johnson told the paper.
Through a spokesman, The Huffington Post asked Johnson if he still believed OSHA regulation was too burdensome. He had no immediate response.
According to OSHA records, Johnson's company was hit with proposed penalties of $9,638 for exposing workers to apparent hazards in 2011.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bush-Appointed Judge Cites Scalia In Axing Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Ban

TPM

Here's the relevant passage from George W. Bush-appointed Judge John E. Jones III in his 39-page opinion:

As Justice Scalia cogently remarked in his dissent, “if [Windsor] is meant to be an equal-protection opinion, it is a confusing one.” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2706 (Scalia, J., dissenting). Although Windsor did not identify the appropriate level of scrutiny, its discussion is manifestly not representative of deferential review. See id. (Scalia, J., dissenting) (observing that “the Court certainly does not apply anything that resembles [the rational-basis] framework” (emphasis omitted)). The Court did not evaluate hypothetical justifications for the law but rather focused on the harm resulting from DOMA, which is inharmonious with deferential review.
It was a reference to Scalia's scathing dissent against the Court's 5-4 opinion that struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages. The Reagan-appointed justice warned that the majority decision -- despite officially staying neutral on whether gay marriage was a Constitutional right -- relied upon reasoning that would lead to that conclusion.
"As I have said, the real rationale of today’s opinion ... is that DOMA is motivated by 'bare ... desire' to harm couples in same-sex marriages," Scalia wrote in the 2013 dissent. "How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status."
Jones is one of several district court judges in numerous states to cite Scalia's prescient warning about the broader legal consequences of the DOMA reasoning. Same-sex marriage has enjoyed a remarkable winning streak since the ruling.

Monday, May 19, 2014

NC Republicans want prison time for revealing what frackers are pumping into the ground

RAW STORY

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have introduced a bill that would make it a felony to disclose the chemicals used in fracking operations outside of emergency situations, Energywire reported.
The “Energy Modernization Act,” (PDF) as the bill is called, would punish revealing fracking mix information with prison terms of “a few months,” in addition to civil penalties. While it would allow officials with the state emergency management office to gather that information for planning purposes and provide it for medical and firefighting personnel as necessary, first responders might also be forced to sign confidentiality agreements to protect that information.
Otherwise, however, those details would be classified as trade secrets, which companies like ex-Vice President Dick Cheney’s former employer, Halliburton, have argued should be maintained in order to protect their business. However, fracking opponents have said that public disclosure of the chemicals used in the process is necessary to gauge how much damage it can do to local land and water supplies. Twenty states currently have laws on the books requiring companies to reveal what chemicals they use.
Mother Jones reported that the bill does not mention whether fire or health officials would face imprisonment if they disclose their dealing with fracking ingredients with their own colleagues.
“I think the only penalties to fire chiefs and doctors, if they talked about it at their annual conference, would be the penalties contained in the confidentiality agreement,” legal expert Hannah Wiseman was quoted as saying. “But [the bill] is so poorly worded, I cannot confirm that if an emergency responder or fire chief discloses that confidential information, they too would not be subject to a felony.”
The bill, introduced by GOP Sens. Andrew Brock, Eldon “Buck” Newton, and Bob Rucho, would also bar local governments from instituting their own anti-fracking rules and limit the amount of water testing done before starting a new fracking operation.
Earlier this month, officials with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) challenged the Mining & Energy Commission when it attempted to pass a rule requiring companies to make their fracking chemicals public record, following a complaint by Halliburton.
This past February, federal officials launched an investigation into the activities at Duke Energy — former employer of Gov. Pat McCrory (R) — after DENR blocked two lawsuits against the company and instead negotiated two settlement offers totalling less than $100,000. The offers were later withdrawn.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's a deal: AT&T to acquire DirecTV

The boards of AT&T and DirecTV held special meetings on Sunday where they approved a plan for the latter to be bought out by the former for $95-per-share.

Rumors of the deal surfaced early last week and it was leaked then that a deal could be announced within days, and so it has, with both boards approving the deal simultaneously and unanimously. AT&T will acquire DirecTV in a mix of stock and cash.

AT&T trumps this deal as a creation of a “unique new competitor with unprecedented capabilities in mobility, video and broadband services.” It is expected that AT&T will use this new asset to augment U-Verse offers, which will, in turn, free up bandwidth demands in those markets.

DirecTV is already sold at many AT&T retail locations, and with a portfolio that includes NFL Sunday Ticket, and other sports oriented content offers, AT&T will be able to better bundle these services with its wireless line-up, including expanded delivery of content to mobile devices.

AT&T has issued a number of commitments as part of the transaction. AT&T plans to deploy broadband services to more rural areas by using fixed-wireless and fiber installations. A stand-alone broadband package with guaranteed pricing for three years. There will be a nationwide DirecTV pricing package, consistent for three years.

AT&T also commits to net-neutrality, regardless of any rulings that come from the FCC that may vacate such requirements. Finally, AT&T re-committed to participate in next-year’s spectrum auction, although it does point out the caveat “as long as there is sufficient spectrum available in the auction to provide AT&T a viable path to at least a 2x10MHz nationwide spectrum footprint.” The company notes that the deal with DirecTV will not stop it from spending at least $9 billion in the auctions in 2015.

Of course, regulators in Washington, DC, a few states, and some governments in Latin America need to sign off on the deal. Assuming everything moves forward, that process will take about a year.

source: AT&T

Friday, May 09, 2014

Led Zeppelin - Ten Years Gone

Tool - Stinkfist

Green Jello - Eat Satan's Ham

Green Jelly - Three Little Pigs

Pope Francis urges governments to redistribute wealth to the poor — maybe even half of it

RAW STORY

Pope Francis called on “legitimate redistribution” of wealth by the world’s governments to undo the “economy of exclusion” underlying capitalist society.
The pontiff appealed Friday to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of major U.N. agencies in Rome, warning that wealth inequality promoted a “culture of death” at odds with Catholic teachings.
“An awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death must lead us to share with complete freedom the goods which God’s providence has placed in our hands,” Pope Francis said.
These may be “material goods but also intellectual and spiritual ones,” Francis said, and he urged the world’s people “to give back generously and lavishly whatever we may have earlier unjustly refused to others.”
The Catholic Church’s first Latin American pope has upset American conservatives with his critiques of the unrestrained free market and “trickle-down” economics, which he dismissed as na├»ve and unsupported by the facts.
“A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society,” Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis asked U.N. officials to consider the biblical story of Zacchaeus the tax collector, whom he said showed it’s never too late to correct injustice.
In the Luke 19:1-10 account, the diminutive tax collector tells Jesus he will give away half his possessions to the poor to atone for his sins and pay back four times the amount to anyone he’s cheated.
“Zacchaeus made a radical decision of sharing and justice, because his conscience had been awakened by the gaze of Jesus,” the pope explained. “This same spirit should be at the beginning and end of all political and economic activity.”
He urged world leaders to make similarly “courageous decisions with immediate results.”
“I urge you to work together in promoting a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which — beyond all differences of religious or political convictions — will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded,” Pope Francis challenged them............................

Thursday, May 08, 2014

This Was The Week The GOP's Anti-Obamacare Circus Came Crashing Down

TPM

Both incidents marked seismic shifts from the days of HealthCare.gov's disastrous launch, when Republicans readily grilled Sebelius and other officials over the law, taking as many shots as they could while Obamacare's future was uncertain.
The first Senate confirmation hearing Thursday for Sylvia Mathews Burwell, tapped to succeed Sebelius, would have seemed a natural opportunity for the Republican members to flex their opposition to the law. And while many of the usual talking points made appearances -- canceled health plans, lost jobs and HealthCare.gov's miserable launch -- the tone itself was strikingly cordial.
Only ranking member Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) actually interrupted Burwell in an effort to pin her down on an answer to a question about the administration's "keep your health plan" fix, while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made a guest appearance to introduce and endorse her to the committee.
"Regardless of my objections to the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services needs competent leadership," McCain said.
A few GOP members, like Sens. Johnny Isakson (GA) and Richard Burr (NC), ignored Obamacare altogether. Isakson focused his questioning on a port project that he wants approved, while Burr inquired about public health preparedness. Burr then gave Burwell his full-throated support.
"I support her nomination and I will vote for it. She doesn't come with a single experience that would make her a good secretary. She comes with a portfolio of experience," Burr said. "I look forward to her confirmation being quick."
That notably tame Senate hearing followed a House hearing the day earlier during which House Republicans became visibly agitated when the insurance executives they called to testify refused to deliver the bad news that they were hunting for.
It was easy to see coming. At least one industry source had already dismissed the Republican report that served as the basis for the meeting as "incredibly rigged," and the testimony prepared by the hearing's witnesses thoroughly debunked the GOP's findings.
So committee members at the hearing went fishing for other bad headlines instead -- perhaps the prospect of significant premium increases in 2015. "I can't say for certain," one of the witnesses said of next year's rates. "I don't have the exact numbers yet," another offered.
Things got so bad that, at one point, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) effectively chastised industry executives for not producing any information on the 2015 rates, which Republicans have warned could skyrocket.
"You have done no internal analysis on what the trend line is for these premiums? None?" Blackburn said, clearly exasperated. "It is baffling that we could have some of our nation's largest insurers, and you all don't have any internal analysis of what these rates are going to be."
It was that kind of week for the GOP.

13 Things to Remember When Life Gets Rough

expandedconsciousness.com


We’ve all gone through hard times. And we all get through them. However, some get through them better than others. So what is their secret? Most of it has to do with attitude. Here are 13 things to remember when life gets rough:


1. What is, is.

Buddha’s famous saying tells us: “It is your resistance to ‘what is’ that causes your suffering.” Think about that for a minute. It means that our suffering only occurs when we resist how things are. If you can change something, then take action! Change it! But if you can’t change it, then you have two choices: (1) either accept it and let go of the negativity, or (2) make yourself miserable by obsessing over it.

2. It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem.

Many times, we are our own worst enemy. Happiness is really dependent on perspective. If you think something is a problem, then your thoughts and emotions will be negative. But if you think it’s something you can learn from, then suddenly, it’s not a problem anymore.

3. If you want things to change, you need to start with changing yourself.

Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. Don’t you know people whose lives are chaotic and stressful? And isn’t that largely because they feel chaotic inside? Yes, it is. We like to think that changing our circumstances will change us. But we have it backwards—we need to change ourselves first before our circumstances will change.

4. There is no such thing as failure—only learning opportunities.

You should just wipe the word “failure” right out of your vocabulary. All great people who have ever achieved anything have “failed” over and over. In fact, I think it was Thomas Edison who said something like, “I did not fail at inventing the light bulb





, I just first found 99 ways that it didn’t work.” Take your so-called “failures” and learn something from them. Learn how to do it better next time.

5. If you don’t get something you want, it just means something better is coming.

That’s hard to believe sometimes, I know. But it’s true. Usually, when you look back at your life, you will be able to see why it was actually a good thing that something didn’t work out. Maybe the job you didn’t get would have made you spend more time away from your family, but the job you did get was more flexible. Just have faith that everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to.

6. Appreciate the present moment.

This moment will never come again. And there is always something precious about every moment. So don’t let it pass you by! Soon it will just be a memory. Even moments that don’t seem happy can be looked upon as something that you might miss someday. As the country song by Trace Adkins says, “You’re gonna miss this…you’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast….you may not know this now, but you’re gonna miss this…”

7. Let go of desire.

Most people live with “attached mind.” What this means is that they attach themselves to a desire, and when they don’t get it, their emotions plummet into negativity. Instead, try to practice “detached mind.” That means that when you want something, you will still be happy whether you get it or not. Your emotions remain happy or neutral.

8. Understand and be grateful for your fears.

Fear can be a great teacher. And overcoming fears can also make you feel victorious. For example, when I was in college, I feared public speaking (one of the top 3 fears of all humans). So I find it humorous now that not only do I speak in front of a group every day by being a college professor, I also teach public speaking! Overcoming fears just takes practice. Fear is really just an illusion. It’s optional.

9. Allow yourself to experience joy.

Believe it or not, I know way too many people who don’t allow themselves to have fun. And they don’t even know how to be happy. Some people are actually addicted to their problems and the chaos in them so much that they wouldn’t even know who they are without them. So try to allow yourself to be happy! Even if it’s just for a small moment, it’s important to focus on joy, not your hardships.

10. Don’t compare yourself to other people.

But if you do compare yourself, compare yourself with people who have it worse than you. Unemployed? Be grateful that you live in a country that gives unemployment compensation, because most people in the world live on less that $750 a year. So you don’t look like Angelina Jolie? Well, I bet there are more people who don’t than do. And you are probably way better looking than most people. Focus on that.

11. You are not a victim.

You need to get out of your own way. You are only a “victim” of your own thoughts, words and actions. No one “does” something to you. You are the creator of your own experience. Take personal responsibility and realize that you can get out of your hard times. You just need to start with changing your thoughts and actions. Abandon your victim mentality and become victorious. From victim to VICTOR!

12. Things can—and do—change.

“And this too shall pass” is one of my favorite sayings. When we are stuck in a bad situation, we think that there is no way out. We think nothing will ever change. But guess what? It will! Nothing is permanent except death. So get out of the habit of thinking that things will always be this way. They won’t. But you do need to take some sort of action for things to change. It won’t magically happen all on its own.

13. Anything is possible.

Miracles happen every day. Really—they do. I wish I had enough space to write about all the miraculous things that have happened to people I know—from healing stage 4 cancer naturally to having their soul mate appear out of nowhere. Trust me: it happens all the time. You just need to believe it does. Once you do, you have won the battle.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Insurers Plan To Debunk GOP's 'Rigged' Obamacare Study In Front Of Congress

TPM

Dennis Matheis, a vice president at WellPoint, one of the nation's largest insurers, plans to point out the payment percentage is much higher if you count only the payments that have actually come due, up to 90 percent:
The percentage of applicants that have paid a premium will differ depending on whether the percentage is calculated based on the total number of applications and premium payments received during this entire time period (roughly 70 percent) or is calculated based on the total number of applications and premium payments received for policies whose premium deadline has passed (ranging up to 90 percent depending on the state).
Paul Wingle, an executive at Aetna, plans to make the same point, estimating his company's customers are paying at better-than-80-percent clip:
For those who had reached their payment due date, the payment rate, though dynamic, has been in the low- to mid-80 percent range.
A third industry witness, J. Darren Rodgers of Health Care Services Corp., plans to stress that the last segment of payment data "is not yet complete given that deadlines for all of those policies may not yet have passed."

Friday, May 02, 2014

What should we do with people who rely on government handouts, but are too lazy to work?


After Getting Bad Ratings News, Limbaugh Tries To Prove "Ratings Don't Matter"

MMFA

Rush Limbaugh used CBS' decision to hire comedian Stephen Colbert as the new host of The Late Show as evidence that ratings are irrelevant following reports that the talk radio firebrands' own ratings have collapsed.
On the May 1 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh declared that CBS' decision to replace David Letterman with Colbert is proof that "ratings don't matter in a lot of television." Limbaugh latched onto recent comments by CBS president Les Moonves to repeatedly gloat that he was right when he claimed that "it's not about ratings anymore" but rather about coolness. In fact, during the entire first segment of his show, Limbaugh repeated the phrase "ratings don't matter" a total of nine times:

LIMBAUGH: I want to start off with a giant "See, I told you so." A two-minute sound bite of me on this program back on February 19th. That was when NBC said they're gonna replace Jay Leno with Jimmy Fallon. I made the point that I was talking to a friend the night before, February 18th, and we were chatting about the landscape changes in television. He'd said something to me about all these replacements, are they gonna maintain ratings. And I said, "It's not about ratings anymore. Ratings don't matter to TV executives anymore." And he thought after a while, as many people do in conversation with me, that that was brilliant. It is true. And it stuns me, but in a lot of television, ratings don't matter. 
[...]
LIMBAUGH: If the ratings are not how you are going to pitch advertisers, what are you going to pitch? You are going to pitch cool, you are going to pitch hip. And how are you going to do that? You are going to go to other media and you are going to massage them and you are going to have PR campaigns and there are going to be countless, endless stories about your talent, your host and what a cool, hip in-demand guy he is. And then you are going to make sure your host is as visible as possible in cool hip places. Letterman of course doesn't fit that because he is a recluse. He doesn't go to hip places and do cool things.
Limbaugh's observation curiously coincides with new reports that Limbaugh's own show has run into ratings trouble. Three months after a much-hyped switch to a Clear Channel-owned station in Los Angeles bearing the call letters of Limbaugh's own "Excellence in Broadcasting" motto, The Rush Limbaugh Show has suffered significant drops in ratings. Limbaugh's show was a top-rated show in Los Angeles before moving to KEIB; in March, his show was ranked 37th, according to Nielsen ratings. By contrast, Limbaugh's former Los Angeles station remains a top-10 station with an audience six times larger than his current outlet. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the ratings of Limbaugh's new station there have remained flat despite his addition.
Limbaugh's drop in the ratings are not limited to the Los Angeles market. In New York, the nation's largest radio market, Limbaugh's program dropped to 22nd after moving to another Clear Channel-owned station.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Howlin' Wolf - Howlin' For My Darlin'

Muddy Waters - Champagne & Reefer

Catfish Blues - Jimi Hendrix Experience

Big Al Carson - Take Your Drunkin' Ass Home

'You Was Born To Die' - BLIND WILLIE McTELL (1933) Blues Guitar Legend

Gubernatorial candidate to hand out Klan hoods (Republican Party hat)



MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Democratic candidate for governor Brett Hulsey plans to hand out white Ku Klux Klan-style hoods to Wisconsin Republicans as they gather for their annual convention Friday to highlight what he says are their racist policies.
Hulsey, a state representative from Madison who is white, came into the state Capitol press room on Thursday to show off a hood he says he made with his daughter's sewing machine using curtain material he purchased for $1.
"It's a Wisconsin Republican Party hat," Hulsey said. "And people can interpret it any way they want."
When asked whether he was serious, trying to be funny or provocative, Hulsey answered: "All of the above."
Hulsey, a two-term state representative, is running a long-shot campaign for the Democratic nomination against the better-funded and more broadly supported candidate Mary Burke. She is a former state commerce secretary and Trek Bicycle Corp. executive. Her campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki called Hulsey's latest stunt "completely unacceptable and totally inappropriate."
Hulsey has a history of outlandish behavior.
Hulsey contemplated bringing a musket onto the Assembly floor to call attention to GOP policies, like legalizing carrying concealed weapons, that he opposed. Last year, one of his legislative staffers told police she feared for her safety because he brought a box-cutter to the office.
In 2012, Hulsey pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct citation after police accused him of flipping a 9-year-old boy off an inner tube at a Madison beach and taking pictures of the child. Hulsey told police he just walked by the boy and didn't "touch or molest him." He also said he needed to point his camera toward the boy in order to get a shot of a sailboat and the sunset.
Democrats and Republicans alike were quick to distance themselves from Hulsey's latest antics.
"We take serious issue with the policies pursued by Republicans that disproportionately affect communities of color, but this type of behavior has no place in the public dialogue," said state Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate.
Wisconsin Republican Party executive director Joe Fadness called Hulsey's plan to hand out the hoods a "reprehensible, vile stunt" that should outrage everyone.
Hulsey said he was trying to highlight what he called racist Republican policies to require photo identification at the polls, a law struck down in federal court on Tuesday as unconstitutional because of how it would affect minorities, passage of a law making it more difficult to force schools to remove American Indian mascots and cuts to public school funding.
"They need to own up to their racism, which is what I am trying to highlight," Hulsey said.