Upsetment
26.6K views | +3 today
Follow
 
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
onto Upsetment
Scoop.it!

​The Military Is Shutting Down Its Weather-Controlling Death Beam

​The Military Is Shutting Down Its Weather-Controlling Death Beam | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Can a facility that has inspired global conspiracy theories be designated a World Heritage Site? If so, that might be the only way to prevent the shutdown of the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) in Alaska, which studies the ionosphere—or creates lethal hurricanes—depending on whom you talk to.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

While I am not convinced that HARP offers great scientific return for the buck, we once again see the anti-science attitude of the American public and the lack of information of the American politician at work.

more...
No comment yet.
Upsetment
Want to get upset? Here are some things to help.
Curated by Kenneth Weene
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

ICELANDIC LANGUAGE AT RISK; ROBOTS, COMPUTERS CAN'T GRASP IT

ICELANDIC LANGUAGE AT RISK; ROBOTS, COMPUTERS CAN'T GRASP IT | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Icelandic ranks among the weakest and least-supported language in terms of digital technology - along with Irish Gaelic, Latvian, Maltese and Lithuanian - according to a report by the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance assessing 30 European languages.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I loved Iceland when we were there. And, I loved hearing the rhythms and sounds of the language even though I didn't understand it. Of course there were some difficulties with it. For example, the street names were so long that you'd be a block farther before you could finish spelling the name of the street you were crossing. At any rate, I think that the government of Iceland should give grants to support poetry and theatre in their native tongue. Meanwhile, I am considering posting solarfri on my desktop. Don't know what that means? Read the article. 

Speaking of reading, have you checked out Memoirs From the Asylum? 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

In Balkans, a fragile order grows brittle, threatening stability

In Balkans, a fragile order grows brittle, threatening stability | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Yugoslavia's breakup a quarter-century ago unleashed wars that killed about 140,000 people and unleashed deep ethnic hostilities. Today, the region’s carefully calibrated path to recovery hangs in the balance.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Sadly, the only reason that the people of the Balkans are not fighting again is that they are so weary of war. Serbs, Croats, Muslims, Albanians: oh the list of differences among them go on and on. Sadly, both the Turks and Russians have reason to encourage such divisions and the EU is so busy being a bureaucratic nightmare that it is incapable of offering meaningful input but instead sends aid and regulations to those countries that wish to join. What is truly needed? What is the solution? Certainly nobody wants another Tito style dictatorship to create a new Yugoslavia. But what will work? Could a new Balkan Union be created? Could all the players go back to Dayton and explore a confederation that could work? Were I in Washington, that would be my suggestion. Not membership in the European Union, which IMHO is going to fall apart on its own Kafkaesqe petard but a confederation based on shared geography and economics but with guarantees of personal, ethnic, and religious freedoms. 

Of course, nobody would listen to my suggestions because there is nobody left in the State Department to actually think ahead and try to plan a long-term American strategy. That may be the greatest truth of the American century, it has been marked by situational reactions rather than long-term thinking. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

They're here: photos released of 8 female activists that history almost forgot.

They're here: photos released of 8 female activists that history almost forgot. | Upsetment | Scoop.it

This is Lillian Parker Thomas, a journalist, was a local and correspondent editor for the New York Freeman, and she is believed to have been the first black woman to be a professional theater critic.


. The Library of Congress is releasing new digital images to remind people of these forgotten heroes. 

Kenneth Weene's insight:
They were Black and the were women and they lived in America in the late nineteenth century, but all the prejudice and gender expectations of a hidebound society didn't stop them. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Why people have to learn to live with wildfires

Why people have to learn to live with wildfires | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The best way for forests to adapt to climate change is for them to burn.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Much as I love forests, I recognize that wildfires are an integral part of nature. It is at the interface of forest and towns that the issues start. I don't believe in fighting to save isolated homes or homes that have not been properly forest-maintained—thinning, creation of reasonable safe zones, and availability of proper equipment such as water to facilitate defense. I also believe that forest communities should install lightening rods at high points to limit the danger of strike fires and should have clear rules about fire use. We can no longer just say that every house and community must be saved. 

By the way, I drew on my experience fighting fires in Maine to write about the barn fire in Broody New Englander. Have you read it? If you have, you will know that sometimes the fire chief says, "You might as well piss on it." 
Here's the book link:
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Trump White House Says It Won't Be Transparent At All Because Obama Wasn't Transparent Enough

Trump White House Says It Won't Be Transparent At All Because Obama Wasn't Transparent Enough | Upsetment | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON ― White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the Trump administration’s decision not to disclose the White House visitor logs online on Monday by blaming the Obama administration for not being transparent enough.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
So let''s get this right: Since the Obama administration didn't do a perfect job of transparency, the current administration things it has no obligation to even try. Does anybody buy this? Does anybody not think this administration is failing to be responsible to the American people?  How do we get things back on track? 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

North Korea's military parade: What we didn't see

North Korea's military parade: What we didn't see | Upsetment | Scoop.it
If North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hoped the successful launch of a missile Sunday would be a powerful footnote to Saturday's military parade, he would have been sorely disappointed.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Between the foolishness of America and the blindness of North Korea, it is easy to see a world of mushroom clouds. The real problem, however, is not the weapons but the inability of the rest of the world to reach the people of this hermit kingdom. Sadly, the North Korean people are so removed from the modern world that they have no sense of what they are missing. At the same time, there are many in the USA who seem to have equally little understanding of the rest of the world even though they have access to the internet, movies, television, and even books. Which is sadder, those who are cut off from life by a dictatorship or those who are cut off by their own blindness? 

At least, those who are interested in crime and corruption can read Times to Try the Soul of Man. https://www.amazon.com/Times-Try-Soul-Kenneth-Weene/dp/0990715876/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Aleppo blast: Syrian evacuation convoy targeted

Aleppo blast: Syrian evacuation convoy targeted | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Monitor says at least 126 people were killed as explosion targets convoy of evacuees from two pro-government villages.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There seems to be no end to the depravity in the endless Syrian civil war. Attacking refugees, especially the old, ill, and children who are being removed from the fighting: whoever did this clearly is an organization built on hate. What a sad commentary on the human species. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

A Right-Wing Think Tank Is Trying to Bring Down the Indian Child Welfare Act. Why? - Indian Country Media Network

A Right-Wing Think Tank Is Trying to Bring Down the Indian Child Welfare Act. Why? - Indian Country Media Network | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Goldwater Institute aims to dismantle a landmark law called the Indian Child Welfare Act. A move that has been met by Native supporters of the law.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There are two sides to this issue. Should children of Indian descent who need foster or adoptive care be kept within tribal settings for the sake of that heritage or should they be lumped into the greater population of children at risk? Certainly, the tribes have reason to want to protect their own and to not have these kids grow up without a knowledge of their heritage. On the other hand, sometimes the kids have been growing up in the non-reservation world and have suddenly found themselves being claimed by a tribe that is far removed and with which they have had no contact. Sadly, the need to balance competing interests and goals is seldom met by law. That said, given the history of injustice against Native American youth by the government, I tend to favor the tribes. Perhaps the best interest would be to maintain the ICWA and give the states the ability to move for exemption in particular cases. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

NIGERIA MARKS 3 YEARS SINCE SCHOOLGIRLS' MASS ABDUCTION

NIGERIA MARKS 3 YEARS SINCE SCHOOLGIRLS' MASS ABDUCTION | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Nigerians on Friday marked three years since the mass abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram extremists amid anger that government efforts to negotiate their freedom appear to have stalled.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The mix of tribalism, militant islam, and social inequity have fueled years of pain for the people of Nigeria. The young women who are being taken to become slaves, mistresses, and for some suicide-bombers represent the very worst that we humans are capable of doing to innocents among us. And, what was the great crime that these girls committed, the offense before Boko Haram's understanding of the will of Allah? It was to, as their parents wished, go to school. IMHO, any man who thinks his god is telling him to stop girls from getting an education has a serious problem with his own penis, which is obviously the only head he has. Much as I try to empathize with the anger of all militant groups and to understand their need for change, I cannot find an ounce of understanding for this kind of cruelty to young women and disregard for their rights to grow up. I know that in the end, the government of Nigeria will have to find some kind of rapprochement with these monsters, but I honestly hope that the final settlement involves a rather large number of castrations among the leaders and those who have perpetrated such crimes. What do you think, should castration be a punishment in some offenses? 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Multiple Sanitation Violations Found At Mar-A-Lago Kitchen

Multiple Sanitation Violations Found At Mar-A-Lago Kitchen | Upsetment | Scoop.it
President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club, known in his administration as the “Winter White House” or “Southern White House,” was cited for a number of sanitation violations in a January inspection. First reported by the Miami Herald Wednesday afternoon, the club’s most recent inspection report listed “high priority” violations including keeping meat and fish at temperatures that were too high and not following protocols to destroy parasites in fish served raw or undercooked. The Herald noted that, compared to past publicly available reports, Mar-a-Lago’s most recent inspection, during Trump’s first week in office, had yielded a record number of violations. Trump has hosted high-profile visits at the club, including with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Luckily for Trump and Xi, nothing in the report indicates any liabilities in Mar-a-Lago’s chocolate cake, which Trump recently bragged was at the dinner table when he told Xi he had ordered a military strike against a Syrian airfield.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I wonder if his guests suffering food poisoning would be considered an act of aggression. Seriously, is there anything this "businessman's administration" can run properly? I was critical of Obama's lack of administrative skill, but this is getting ridiculous. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

United passenger threatened with handcuffs to make room for 'higher-priority' traveler

United passenger threatened with handcuffs to make room for 'higher-priority' traveler | Upsetment | Scoop.it
It’s hard to find examples of worse decision making and customer treatment than United having a passenger dragged from an overbooked plane. But United’s shabby treatment of Geoff Fearns comes close.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
In case you think United Airline's latest misadventure was out of their ordinary, this happened a few weeks back. I understand their stock fell about 5% today, but that hardly seems meaningful. Anybody want to fly with this bunch? Not I. Oh, a couple of years ago they supposedly promised that they would honor tickets, that to the government regulators. Now, I know problems can occur, but this company is just not customer friendly. Reminds me of Eastern, Don't remember them? Well, that's because they just went bust. Have you seen Southwest's new slogan, "We beat our competitors, not you." 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

The top 10 books Americans tried to ban last year

The top 10 books Americans tried to ban last year | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Censorship is on the rise in the US, suspects James LaRue, director of the US Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF). Every year, the OIF, a part of the American Library Association, tracks when parents and administrators "challenge" books by trying to remove them from schools curricula and libraries. This year, it recorded 323 attempt
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I detest censorship, especially when the attempt is to deny young people the wisdom about relationships and identity that comes from reading good fiction. I must admit that I am also jealous that none of my books has become sufficiently known to warrant such stupid attacks, because, let's face it, nothing makes a book more desirable in the eyes of the young than the demand of strong-arming parents that they not read it.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

How Many Tree Species Are There On Earth? The Number May Surprise You

How Many Tree Species Are There On Earth? The Number May Surprise You | Upsetment | Scoop.it
More than 60,000 species are currently living. Many of them are in trouble, according to the world's first global trees database.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
And of those over 60, 000 species more than 15% are in danger of extinction. I for one love trees and worry that they, like animals, are under attack as a result of human indifference and greed.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Trump: 'We are very happy to have Aya back home'

Trump: 'We are very happy to have Aya back home' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
President Donald Trump hailed the return of Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American aid worker, in the Oval Office on Friday, telling the American charity worker she showed "great strength" in her ordeal.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While it is always good to have hostages set free, we must remember that the taking of hostages—even under the cover of a criminal charge—is unacceptable. In this instance, as is so often the case, the idea of the foreign government involved was to have a bargaining chip or at least a way to buy-in to the game. "See, we're ready to do business with you," is the message that hostage release implies. But, is that an acceptable message to receive. Should the US or any government not say, "If you hold one of our citizens hostage, we will take one of yours"? I am not suggesting that we go back to the days of extra-territoriality, the days when colonial powers would deny other countries the right to hold and try citizens. But, clearly, in this case, there was no real criminal charge. 

Which brings us to a major problem in the world today and with our thinking in foreign affairs. Governments have become so interdependent and the world so small that stability has become the goal rather than justice and growth of humanity. While stability is a good thing for systems, much better than entropy, it is not a sufficient goal. Perhaps, what we need is an international tribunal that can oversee claims of hostage taking and one with enough teeth to actually make such moves or similar acts such as assassination, no matter by what country, untenable. 

I know the internationalism is frowned upon by many these days, especially among Mr. Trump's supporters, but we may yet need to find a way to have stronger international courts and law enforcement even as we maintain national sovereignty and even an increase in local nationalism against the unification see in the EU or previously in the USSR. 

Sadly, managing the human species is difficult. Once there was the fantasy of a Holy Roman Empire. Then a Pax Britannia, then Universal Communism, then the American century. Will we ever figure it out? 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Sources: Mattis tells Hill Trump budget won't rebuild military

Sources: Mattis tells Hill Trump budget won't rebuild military | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Defense Secretary James Mattis has privately told Congress the Trump administration's Pentagon budget request isn't sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding the military as President Donald Trump has vowed to do, four sources familiar with the conversations told CNN.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Thankfully, here's another topic on which Trump will not be fulfilling his campaign promises, on which he has changed his mind. At lest this time, it was a promise to spend recklessly on something of which, IMHO, we have way too many of, weapons.  
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

North Korea issues stark warning as US plans next move

North Korea issues stark warning as US plans next move | Upsetment | Scoop.it
North Korea issued a threat after Rex Tillerson said the U.S. was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear program.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I still think that North Korea is more interested in selling weapons than in using them, especially since in the end they can't hope to prevail given the absence of food and energy. However, clearly the "Great Leader" will not back down in the face of threats. Our best route is to pressure the Chinese to cut off trade from the Hermit Kingdom. With 80% of all North Korean trade going through China, that would make a real difference. The best way to get China's cooperation is to make it costly for Beijing to not cooperate, both by placing some trade restrictions in place and be pointing out that in the future it may well be more a question of North Korea using those weapons on its neighbor to the north. In addition, China might be enticed by some carrots such as support against Japan in the argument about some islands and even support in its efforts to end an autonomous Taiwanese state (something I really don't want to see happen). Hopefully, somebody with some "bigly" skills will take over this process and make it work. When and if it does, I wonder how amazed the people of North Korea will be to find themselves in the real world. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

The great dairy trade war that will test President Trump

The great dairy trade war that will test President Trump | Upsetment | Scoop.it
75 family farms, and $150 million, hang in the balance.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The American dairy industry has been overproducing for years, but I will be very sad to see family dairy farms disappear. Growing up in Maine, there was a small farm just across the lake. I remember bringing kids there to pet cows and learn about milk. One day, one of the kids asked the farmer, a man named Berry, what the word was for the cows udders from which he was extracting the warm rich milk. "Don't know what you call them in the city," Mr. Berry said, "but up here we call 'em tits." Anyway, there is something wonderful and homey about farms and farming. I never actually worked on a farm or even lived on one (except for a summer at age 3). However, my love of them has found its way into my writing. Here's a poem I wrote for the Berry's daughter Rheeba Jane:

Rheeba Jane's big tits stood attention
tight beneath her cross-tied blouse,
and we young lads who would be men
worshipped her each time we came.
She was a local farmer's daughter
who smelled of horse and sweat;
and we, all city boys, agreed
she was the prettiest girl we'd me.
"Rheeba Jane," we'd call out to her
whenever we rode past her house;
and she would greet us with a wave
that made those lovely tits stand out. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

GOP's New Health Care Rallying Cry: Remember The Maine!

GOP's New Health Care Rallying Cry: Remember The Maine! | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Just before fleeing Washington for the April recess, Republicans unveiled a new amendment they said would revive their struggling bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act—a policy based on a program in Maine that aims to bring down health insurance premiums by funneling older and sicker people into a separate individual market subsidized by the federal government. Though some lawmakers and staff privately admitted it was merely a stunt to create the appearance of progress on the stalled health care overhaul, others insisted the proposal would breathe new life into the moribund bill. “This amendment alone is real progress and it will help us build momentum on delivering on our pledge to the country,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said.  But health care policy experts in Maine and in D.C. paint a different picture, telling TPM that not only was Maine’s system not as successful as the lawmakers claim, but it was propped up by several other policies—including the Affordable Care Act itself, which the GOP is gunning to repeal. A series of reforms passed in Maine, in addition to setting up the high-risk pools, allowed insurance companies to charge older people, small businesses, and people in rural areas much more for their health coverage. It also allowed the companies to sell skimpier plans with sky-high deductibles that did not cover things like maternity care and many prescription drugs. At the same time, the system depended on charging all Mainers $4 per month, whether they were insured through their employer or on the individual market, to help cover the costs of people in the high-risk pool. The GOP’s national plan purportedly modeled on Maine does not include this crucial funding structure, and includes no funding at all after the first nine years. And while the lawmakers singing the praises of Maine’s program and calling for a national version are correct that coverage expanded dramatically since its implementation, most of the credit for that goes to the ACA—which penalized those who did not buy health insurance and offered tax credits to many who did. A Northern experiment In 2011, when the Affordable Care Act had been signed into law but not yet implemented, Maine passed PL90, a law that allowed insurers to shift high-cost patients—such as those with chronic illnesses—into a separate health care pool on the individual market. The companies were also given the green light to sell policies that covered far few services. For example, the state’s biggest insurer stopped covering maternity care altogether in its post-PL90 plans, and multiple plans began requiring a separate deductible for prescription drugs. The law additionally changed the state’s rating bands, allowing insurers to charge members much more based on their age and geographic location. “Rather than building as big an insurance pool as possible so the costs got meted out more broadly, what the program did is sequester those people,” explained Garrett Martin, the executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “It provided an opportunity for the insurance companies to underwrite much cheaper policies for younger, healthier people and jack up costs for older, sicker, people.”   The costs of people in Maine’s high-risk pool were subsidized by a fee levied on everyone in the individual, small-group, and employer-based markets of $4 dollars per-person, per-month—which added up to nearly $22 million per year for the insurance companies. Republicans in Congress point to data in Maine showing that the law cut insurance premiums in half for older members and by a whopping two-thirds for those under 19 years old. But experts say these numbers are misleading. “The proponents of this system are only looking at Maine’s new policies that didn’t cover much that only healthy people were buying,” said Emily Brostick with the Maine-based health advocacy group Consumers for Affordable Health Care. “This law wasn’t a cure-all.” Key context is also missing from the impressive numbers. For one, prior to PL90, insurance companies had to cover everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions, but had no subsides to bring down those costs. Maine also has the oldest population in the country, and people too old to work but too young for Medicare were overrepresented in its individual market, along with people too sick to work. “Premiums were really high and participation was really low,” explained Gary Claxton, the vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “So when you made a change where you subsidized it from outside the market—a lot of money to subsidize a really small population—of course it made a big difference.” Thanks to these subsides and the ability for insurers to sell skimpier plans, costs did come down for some in the individual market. But they sharply increased for many individuals and small businesses.  In the year after the law’s implementation, 100 percent of individuals over 60 years old saw rate their premiums increase 18 percent or more, while 100 percent of people 39 and younger saw their premiums go down, according to a report by the advocacy group Consumers for Affordable Health Care. The vast majority of small businesses also saw rates jump, some by more than 40 percent, CAHC’s report found, as Maine’s law allowed them to be charged more based on the employees’ age, location, industry, and several other factors. One small publishing company on the Eastern shoreline had to pay $75,144 more to insure their 31 employees, even though the new plan had a higher deductible and less coverage. “If you’re older or live in rural places, you got creamed,” Martin said. “The law blew those folks out of the water. So it really is ironic that people want to copy this, because Maine is no model of success. It only worked because it relied on such a tremendous level of subsidy and allowed insurance companies to offer crappier products. It’s just smoke and mirrors.” Enter Obamacare Health care experts warn that it’s impossible to judge the merits of Maine’s high-risk pool system on its own, because the Affordable Care Act was implemented just a few years after Maine’s law was enacted. The large increases in the number of people insured in Maine since 2011, for instance, are far more due to the ACA’s individual mandate, tax credits, cost sharing subsidies, and insurance regulations than to the state’s high-risk pools. “That’s where the bulk of our growth in coverage was,” Martin said. “To suggest it was a result of PL90 is on its face laughable.” A report by Gorman Actuarial commissioned by Maine’s government in late 2011 backs up this analysis: “By 2019, the Individual Market will have almost tripled in size due to the ACA. PL90 slightly accelerates a portion of this growth to occur sooner but does not significantly change the final outcome.” The report predicted a growth of just 6 percent in the individual market due to the lower costs for younger, healthier people brought about by Maine’s law, compared to a growth of 170 percent in the individual market due to provisions in the ACA. In 2012, before the full implementation of the ACA, Maine experienced one of the sharpest increases in the number of uninsured of any state in the country. The number of uninsured dropped significantly over the next few years, but the state’s rate of uninsured resident remains the highest in New England. The ACA also prevented insurance companies in Maine from raising rates as high as the state’s law allowed. Before Obamacare’s implementation, PL90 gave companies leeway to charge older patients five times more than younger members. The ACA set a limit of a 3 to 1 ratio. In total, says Brostick, much of the cost decreases and participation increases touted by boosters of Maine’s model are more accurately attributed to the national system they want to repeal. “The ACA was passed around the same time and was being implemented at the same time [as PL90], so you can’t easily tease out one from other,” she said. “But the individual insurance market has grown so much since 2011, and that’s definitely because of the ACA.”   Key differences The amendment GOP leaders unveiled in early April and rushed through a hastily scheduled Rules Committee markup before leaving D.C. was sold as a national version of PL90. The lead author of the Obamacare repeal bill, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), described it as based on “a great model coming out of the state of Maine where it has decreased premiums and increased enrollment.”  Like Maine’s program, the GOP plan in its current draft would allow states to offer cheaper insurance plans that cover fewer health care services. Like Maine’s program, it is projected to significantly increase costs for older, sicker Americans who do not yet qualify for Medicare. But unlike PL90 in Maine, with its monthly fees structure, it includes no ongoing funding to bring down costs for people in the high-risk pool. “What they’re proposing is not exactly what we had here in Maine,” said Brostick. “They’re not requiring states to collect a per-member per-month fee. They’re not allocating enough money to really do a reinsurance program.”  In lieu of a fee or tax, the GOP bill allocates a flat $15 billion dollars over 9 years to help states pay for coverage of those with the most severe health care needs. What would happen after that funding expires is not addressed. And even conservative economists estimate that a national system for covering people with pre-existing conditions with high-risk pools could require as much as $20 billion per year in federal subsidies, just to cover about 4 million people on the individual market. “Fifteen billion [over 9 years] may not be close to enough,” Claxton told TPM. “If you wanted to do a true high risk pool that meaningfully covers sick people, you’re talking about at least that much per year.”  Still, on Capitol Hill and in town halls back in their home districts over the past week, Republicans have continued to insist that their national version of Maine’s high-risk pools is the answer to the nation’s health care woes. “We have a model for this in the state of Maine,” the amendment’s author, Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL), told reporters when introducing the idea. “They have a risk-sharing arrangement that’s worked very well there. It brought down premiums and actually increased the number of people who are insured, and we believe that what’s we’re going to have too.” “It’s based on proven results at the state level,” added Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and lead author of the GOP bill. With a renewed round of pressure from the White House to pass some kind of health care reform, including threats to sabotage Obamacare, GOP lawmakers are latching onto Maine’s model as their latest in a long line of silver bullets. Like health savings accounts, the elimination of Essential Health Benefits, and block-granting of Medicaid, the Maine solution is more fraught and less effective than its supporters claim. As President Trump himself noted: “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”  
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Quite simply, health care is expensive and the costs may go up with new technologies and medicines, especially if the government gives the healthcare industries free-rein in pricing medications and hospital care. Secondly, there are always going to be some people who will need more care than others. Some are born with serious conditions, some through no fault develop them, some may have some fault attached, and then there is simply the reality of aging. For those who are healthy and young, insurance based on their potential needs should be relatively cheap, but their premiums should go up some in anticipation of rising costs. 

Of course, insurance plans aren't based on just that group of healthy, young people. And state insurance (single payer) is based on the pool of everyone. If we do include everyone, then premiums go way up. That's pretty obvious. The question is how do we subsidize the process to make it viable and not overburden the young and healthy. The simplest way has always been a single payer system funded by tax money and with individuals in turn freed of insurance premiums. All the systems that people have come up with including Obamacare and the Maine system have in the end been about creating and financing subsidies from outside so that the premiums are affordable. Similarly Medicare and Medicaid and the federal healthcare for kids program are all ways of subsidizing the overall health expenses of the nation so insurance doesn't become the iceberg that sinks the ship. However, like the Titanic, it isn't really the iceberg that is the greatest threat. It is the problem burning within. In our country, the real problems are first the greed of the insurance industry that fights to hold on to what was an incredibly profitable system and second the resentment of those who feel they should have more and believe that there are some getting too much. Sadly, they cannot see that at some point it is they or their loved ones who will need the subsidies. Meanwhile, in other more homogeneous and rational nations, national healthcare systems seem to be working. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Energy Star ratings are cheap, effective and popular. Why does Trump want to kill them?

Energy Star ratings are cheap, effective and popular. Why does Trump want to kill them? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Everyone loves Energy Star. Why is Trump listening to the handful of fringe think tanks that want to kill it?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Sadly, we once again see that the Trump administration has minimal concern with good government or empowering consumers. In fact, this administration seems to think about nothing but simply go with the latest impulse. "Here, Trumpy, see the pretty flower." The worst part is that those who voted for him still don't get it. This is not good governance nor an attempt to reduce the size of government, consider how quick the White House is to support screening people, dropping bombs, and expanding the demands on the secret service. It is simply mindlessness, and we the people are the ones who will in the end be screwed. Even the industry involved and the Republicans who have been involved with this program are upset that it might be ended. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Another Startling Verdict for Forensic Science

Another Startling Verdict for Forensic Science | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A recent study on the reliability of hair analysis is only latest to shake public confidence.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Prison populations have exploded in recent years often raising questions about the racial and political implications of incarceration. At the same time, many cases of innocence have been discovered, quite a number of those involving incorrect forensic science. That was why The National Commission on Forensic Science was founded four years ago. It represented the Obama administration's efforts to improve the system of criminal justice in America. So, should we be surprised that with the administration in GOP hands that commission, which has already identified areas in which forensic evidence has—to say the very least—been exaggerated, is being closed down. I guess they need the money for "more important things," like providing extra security to cabinet members or flying Trump to and from Florida. Am I the only one disgusted by this decision to walk-back concern with forensics? 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

FGM charge for Detroit doctor Jumana Nagarwala in US first - BBC News

FGM charge for Detroit doctor Jumana Nagarwala in US first - BBC News | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Jumana Nagarwala could face life in jail if convicted of mutilating young girls over more than a decade.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
She has been charged, but not yet convicted, so we shouldn't decide this woman physician's fate yet. However, if she has in fact been mutilating the genitalia of young women, there is no punishment I would consider inappropriate. Indeed, I'm not sure that male circumcision shouldn't also be illegal even though I was brought up as a Jew. However, the simple reality is that men who have been circumcised can still enjoy sex and do not grow up feeling mutilated. By the way, FGM is not to be found in the Quran; it is not a religious duty no matter what this person or any other might try to claim. If anything, it is an offense against the Judea-Christian-Muslim god who commands us to be fruitful and multiply since it makes the bearing of children more difficult and sex less likely to occur. 

Here's a question: If this woman is convicted and placed in the general population of a women's prison, even a federal one, she is likely to be horribly abused. However, should she be given special treatment or allowed to suffer? If special treatment, what should it be? 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

More US troops may be needed to fight ISIS, commander says

More US troops may be needed to fight ISIS, commander says | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The US general commanding the coalition fight against ISIS expects the fight for its de-facto capital to have hit the city center by this summer, and in an exclusive interview with CNN, he held out the possibility that more US troops may be needed for that tougher fight.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Do we really want to send more troops to the Middle East? Is this really good for America or the world? Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, both Iran and Russia are now making nice with the Taliban. Somehow, that doesn't bode well for America either. And all this because we couldn't keep out of other countries, not Afghanistan starting with Carter and then going big time during Reagan's administration, or Iraq, especially under the second Bush. (And, let's not forget Libya under Obama) Intervention in the internal affairs of other countries is not a good way to go. In the end it drains a nation's coffers and manpower and leaves enmity behind. Military action should be the last option after all else has failed. When military actions is absolutely necessary, it should be done with others, have limited goals, and above all have a clear end game. Our attempts to destabilize Assad have obviously done more harm than good in Syria. Now, when we may actually have to go in and defeat ISIS, we lack good working relationships with Assad, Russia, and Iran and limited relationship with Turkey. The Kurds are our only good ally in that fight, and they have their own very clear set of goals that will in the end put us into conflict with Turkey. Great work, Washington. Oh, when was the last time the military didn't think they could win something if given just more men and equipment? (Where is the sarcasm font when I need it?)
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

How to Get Paint out of Hair

How to Get Paint out of Hair | Upsetment | Scoop.it
If you've ever had paint in your hair, you'll know how difficult it is to remove. Luckily, there're some great ways of how to get paint out of hair.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Two other hints that are ignored in this piece. 1) Get a shorter haircut. 2) Change the color of your hair to match your wall. Meanwhile, how do I get you to read my books? Now that's the big question. Have you checked out www.kennethweene.com ? You won't find beauty tips, but you will find some great reading. 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

The Other Dispute on the U.S.-Mexico Border

The Other Dispute on the U.S.-Mexico Border | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Other Dispute on the U.S.-Mexico Border « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I always loved the song from Oklahoma, the cowboys and the ranchers should be friends. In a perfect world, that's how it should indeed be, those with very different visions should come together in a more perfect union. That was in part the motivation behind NAFTA. Certainly the differences among the three countries—sure less between Canada and the US than between both of them and Mexico—are real, but we not only share a common landmass but starting with the early conquistadors and explorers a common history. And for the Native populations there is even more in common across the borders. So who is responsible for heating up tensions. As it was in Oct of 1835 when the battle of Gonzales took place between Mexican soldiers and American settlers in Texas and in April of 1846 at Palo  Alto where the first battle of the Mexican-American war took place, it has generally been the Americans provoking and the Mexicans, however maladroitly, reacting. Yep, folks, we're the ones cutting those fences and trampling those crops. 

Probably, the international courts will avoid hearing this case and nobody believes that a verdict against American interests would or could be enforced. However, the very idea that the border is illegal and that the US has been a bandit nation show the degree to which Mr. Trump has managed to reverse the progress of bilateral relations during the last twenty years. At least, if Mexico were to take back much of the territory they would claim the farms would continue to be worked. That's probably the most basic reality, that the Southwest needs those Mexican workers. And, to be realistic, American companies need Mexican consumers. 

By the way, IMHO, the Mexican people would be much better off if they banned American corn. It really is different nutritional quality the the stuff the Native Americans first cultivated and that Mexicans have relied on for centuries. 


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kenneth Weene
Scoop.it!

Police Drag Passenger Off Overbooked United Flight

Police Drag Passenger Off Overbooked United Flight | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Airlines always overbook, and usually they can get a volunteer to wait for another flight. But instead of doing that, United had police drag an unwilling passenger off a flight from Chicago to Louisville. Horrifying.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I cannot imagine that I or anyone with a brain will willingly board a United flight after seeing this. The law suit will, I imagine, be settled quickly, but the public relations disaster will and should live on. We all know that airlines overbook, but that should not be at the expense of passengers. Unconscionable.
more...
No comment yet.