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What Happens To Gun Violence Victims With No Health Insurance?

February 24, 2015

James and I talk a lot about health insurance type issues as it is a topic that continually makes for headlines.  We have often remarked what happens to all those who are shot in gun violence and have no health insurance or could be involved with an act of terrorism and are not covered?  Who pays their bills?  What happens to their financial life, even if they survive the wounds?

Republicans never address these issues and yet they are front and center for concern for many in this nation.  Thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act there is a way to have health care.  But the GOP continues to work to undermine the only program that aims to make it possible for everyone to be covered.

While Republicans work to make it easier to have a gun on the one hand they work to remove health coverage so those shot and maimed have no way to pay their doctor bills.

Michael Mitchell, 24, was shot at Pride Auto Sales in Grandview, shortly after he arrived at work for the day. His sister, Tara Mitchell, said her brother thought the shooter had come to buy a car.

“His very first word whenever he opened his eyes was, ‘I’m alive,” Tara Mitchell said.

She said her brother hasn’t said much else since Friday.

“Michael can’t even spit out more than two or three words because he’s out of breath,” she said.

She said the bullet missed her brother’s heart and lungs by a fraction of an inch.

“He’s going to need round-the-clock care,” she said.

Because her brother was new to the job, he didn’t have health insurance.

“It’s going to be a long road, financially. A very long road,” she said. “Probably a longer road than the actual physical recovery.”

 

Bill O’Reilly Caught In Another Lie

February 24, 2015

How does Bill O’Reilly keep all these tall tales straight?  Here are the details.

Chalk up another Bill O’Reilly exaggeration. In 1977, O’Reilly was a 28-year-old TV reporter in Texas investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. O’Reilly wrote in his 2012 book Killing Kennedy that he was knocking on the door of a CIA asset with ties to the Kennedys and the Oswalds when he heard the asset shoot himself to death. Pretty dramatic, but it’s entirely false, says Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post editor and author of JFK assassination book Our Man in Mexico. O’Reilly is heard on phone calls obtained by Morley telling an investigator that he would fly to Florida from Texas the next day to cover the suicide.

Major Muslim Cleric Calling For Educational Reform

February 24, 2015

This is the type of movement and expression that needs to happen to counter those who wish to perpetuate a bastardized version of Islam.   While I welcome the words and tone from Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb I am not at all impressed with the words from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.  It is after all Saudi rulers who have cozied up with Wahhabism which has produced such dreadful outcomes for not only Islam but the political dynamics of much of the Middle East.   Stop sponsoring the anti-intellectual madrassas form of education and then we can start to listen without gagging over what Saudi rulers have to say.

The head of Sunni Islam’s most esteemed center of learning made one of the most sweeping calls yet for educational reform in the Muslim world to combat the escalation of extremist violence.

Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, blamed “corrupt interpretations” of the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad for the rise of Middle East-based terrorism. He issued his appeal in Mecca, Saudi Arabia—Islam’s holiest city—at a gathering of some 700 moderate Muslim clerics from various countries.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman also expressed concern that extremists posed a threat to Muslims everywhere because their actions had tarnished the image of Islam among non-Muslims.

In a speech read to the conference by the governor of Mecca, the king said Muslims are now seen as “culprits and as a source of fear and concern,” resulting in strained ties between Muslim countries and the rest of the world.

Mr. al-Tayeb deplored what he described as the stigmatizing of moderate Muslims by their more radical brethren in schools and universities.

The only way for more mainstream Muslims to reassert their control was to “tackle this tendency [of extremists] to accuse [other] Muslims of being unbelievers,” he told the gathering convened by Saudi-financed Muslim World League.

The rise of terrorism stemmed from “historical accumulations of tendencies of extremism in our heritage, which originated from corrupt interpretations of some of the texts of the Quran and the Sunnah,” he said, referring to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

Earlier this month, Mr. al-Tayeb said Islamic State fighters who burned a Jordanian air force pilot to death deserved the Quranic punishments of death or crucifixion for being enemies of God and the prophet.

Mr. al-Tayeb didn’t mention the Sunni radical group Islamic State by name but clearly alluded to the group by criticizing “extremist violent groups” that spread fear and panic through “beheadings and burning innocents alive.”

Grand Ole Opry House Now On National Register of Historic Places

February 24, 2015

As you know the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.  Now that list include The Grand Ole Opry House!

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While the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville is recognized as an important country music venue today, it is not usually thought of as being historic. Constructed 1972-1974, the performance hall and broadcast studio was listed in the National Register for its exceptional national importance because of its impact in popular culture, entertainment and the communications industry. The largest radio and television broadcast studio in the world when completed, the building represents a new era in country music, when the industry was becoming more mainstream and using new sounds, marketing and production techniques. The building continues to be used for shows and broadcasts.

Coffee Tastes Of Americans Befuddling

February 24, 2015

This just begged to be posted on Caffeinated Politics.

With upscale artisanal coffee brewers dotting city streets across the country, America might fancy itself a nation of high-end coffee drinkers.

But just the opposite is true: People in this country, on the whole, are actually drinking worse coffee today than they have in the past. And the reason appears to be that they value cheapness over quality — and convenience over everything. “A lot of people in America would take a sip of single origin high-end coffee and not appreciate the taste,” said Howard Telford, an industry analyst at market research firm Euromonitor.

Only about 8 percent of the coffee beans Americans buy are fresh whole beans, which upscale coffee brewers, like Blue Bottle, will tell you is the much better way to buy coffee beans. And ground coffee isn’t just outpacing whole bean coffee — it’s increasing its lead, each and every year.

The rise of coffee pods, which come pre-ground, provides what is without question the most compelling evidence of the country’s desire for convenience. Sales of coffee pods have grown by a blistering 138,324 percent — yes, 138,324 percent — over the past 10 years, according to data from Euromonitor.

Keurig now controls more than 20 percent of the U.S. retail market for coffee, roughly the same as the next two — Folgers and Starbucks — combined. But the rest of America’s top 10 most popular brands hardly scream high-end. Folgers, the second-best-selling brand, is famous for selling oversized buckets of ground coffee.

Even as Starbucks continues to plant coffee shops around the country, other artisanal coffee businesses — chained or not — continue to grow in cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles (think Blue Bottle, Stumptown and the like).Maxwell House, the fourth-best-selling brand, is open about its coffee’s mediocrity: Its latest ad campaign, after all, essentially amounts to a plea for people to settle for “good” coffee instead of aspiring for “great” coffee.

 

Kathleen Parker Gives Her View Of Scott Walker “Only A Fool”

February 24, 2015

It could not be stated more clearly.

The first summoned to the interrogatory was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, for whom the dinner was intended when Mr. Giuliani stole the show. Mr. Walker has been asked repeatedly whether he thinks Mr. Obama loves America, an idiotic question that only a fool would answer except to say, “Absolutely!”

Instead, Mr. Walker grabbed a shovel and starting digging a hole right next to Mr. Giuliani’s. Though he first replied that he didn’t feel he needed to comment on Mr. Giuliani’s comments, he later said he doesn’t know if Mr. Obama is a Christian.

Well, of course he doesn’t “know,” but everyone knows what Mr. Obama has said. He’s a Christian. I’m no less inclined to believe the president when he says he’s a Christian than I am to believe Mr. Walker when he says he’s one. If either man is a fake Christian, he has plenty of company, the fact of which makes very little difference to most Americans.

This is all politics, in other words, and Republican candidates need to get smarter. Litmus tests will keep coming their way, and anyone seriously considering running for president needs to know what he thinks before he’s asked. When the camera is running is no time to share one’s deliberations.

Lower Uninsured Numbers Will Impact Supreme Court Case

February 24, 2015

In spite of some legal minds who are truly in a quandary over how the Supreme Court will act on the case regarding subsidies I fall on the history of the court opting to allow for congressional intent.  Clearly congress meant to allow the subsidies in states which did not set up their own frameworks.    The larger truth is that regardless of how states dealt with the uninsured The Affordable Care Act is working–and quite nicely.

New Gallup-Healthways numbers released today vividly illustrate that the Affordable Care Act is working to lower the uninsured rate in states that are trying to make the law work for their constituents, by expanding Medicaid and setting up exchanges.

But guess what: Additional Gallup data sent my way shows that the ACA is also lowering the uninsured rate in states that have not set up their own exchanges.

This strongly suggests the federal exchange is probably working in those states to lower the uninsured rate. That could have important ramifications for the coming Supreme Court battle over King v. Burwell, which threatens to gut subsidies in roughly three dozen of those states on the federal marketplace, perhaps causing those states’ insurance markets to implode.

The data are also interesting when you break them down by states. In many of the federal exchange states with the largest numbers of people who qualify for subsidies — states that have the most to lose from a ruling against the ACA — there have been meaningful drops in the uninsured rate.

In North Carolina it dropped by 4.3 points. In Florida it dropped by 3.8 percentage points. In Ohio it dropped by 3.4 points. In Wisconsin it dropped by 3.3 points. In Texas it dropped by 2.6 points. In Illinois it dropped by 4.5 points.

All of which is to say that Obamacare appears to be accomplishing its goal of expanding health coverage even in states that are declining to participate in the law and have defaulted to the federal backstop. A Supreme Court decision against the law, of course, could rapidly undo that progress.

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