As of November, Germany will be the first country in Europe to offer a “third gender” distinction on its birth certificates.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
What I’ve learned about Women
An expansion plan that Port Everglades calls essential for handling the bigger cargo ships plying the world’s trade routes would cause far more environmental damage than originally claimed, according to the lead federal agency on ocean protection.The $313 million project with the Army Corps of Engineers calls for blasting and dredging through limestone and coral to deepen the port’s entrance channel from 42 feet to 48 feet. The expansion is among several projects the port says could create 7,000 jobs in South Florida over the next 15 years.But the National Marine Fisheries Service says a draft environmental impact statement prepared by the Corps “significantly understates the project’s impacts to seagrass, coral reef and mangrove habitat” and underestimates the amount of work that would be needed to mitigate the damage.The fisheries service said it may take the matter to the assistant secretary of the Army and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality if its concerns are not resolved, steps that could further delay a project in the works for 17 years.Adding to the urgency is the need to finish the environmental review by November, so the project could qualify for funding under a massive water projects bill making its way through Congress.All sides held a four-hour meeting Friday in Tallahassee to try to resolve some of the issues, with officials from various state and federal environmental agencies in attendance.
Supporters and opponents of the Next Generation Science Standards sparred during hearings in Kentucky last week, as critics took issue with the standards teaching of evolution and climate change.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper was recently caught on tape making a racist comment during what appears to be an argument. According to Philadelphia sports blog Crossing Broad, Cooper was at a Kenny Chesney concert in June when this incident took place.
-Anti-poverty organization Oxfam has released a shocking new report titled “The cost of inequality: how wealth and income extremes hurt us all” with a website page that more accurately reflects its findings: “Annual income of richest 100 people enough to end global poverty four times over." This is presumably so more individuals don’t come to the same conclusion as my friend Nick, which is to "just kill twenty five people."
-The head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, Lanny Breuer, has stepped down. This is the same Lanny Breuer who was responsible for failing to prosecute a single Wall Street banker responsible for our current neverending global financial meltdown. Well, I suppose it’s not entirely accurate to say a single banker - he was the guy in charge of the mortgage fraud settlement case, in which the banks got a slap on the wrist in exchange for immunization, and the team researching the case under his jurisdiction got peanuts for resources. Not even good peanuts. The cheapo, big, dented plastic Planters jars you find at the dollar store half-covered in what looks like a mix between a legit peanut shell and a cicada skin. That’s Breuer’s legacy.
-From the files of “what’d ya think was gonna happen?”: the affordable care act, which was passed not to bolster the bottom line of health insurance companies but to lower the unsustainable costs of health care for millions of Americans, contained a provision that companies with more than 50 employees must provide health insurance to their employees. Despite our legislators knowing how to think like corporations to protect citizens, at the end of the day, what appeared in the bill was word-for-word what lobbyists forked over to our represenatives, meaning there was no protection against stupid accounting gimmicks designed to circumvent this air-tight language, leaving people again without health care.
-Remember kindergarten teacher serious GOP up and comer Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal? Tapped give the response to President Obama’s first state of the union 4 years ago, subsequently swept under the rug, and now re-emerging as fresh and new again now that Republicans are desperate for a non-white person of a different party to implement draconian austerity measures to fix “serious problems with our nation’s economy.” Jindal was first thrust into national headlines when he was appointed to be Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals at 24 years old, and he continues to make headlines 17 years later by such clever and brave moves like cutting Medicaid benefits for HIV patients and new mothers. As for those HIV patients too poor to afford private healthcare so they’re in Medicaid?
For the 250 HIV patients whose case management program is being eliminated, Greenstein said the private managed care networks that cover Louisiana’s Medicaid patients offer similar services.
Hey, now that’s an idea! Hey, poor people too poor to afford private healthcare so you’re in Medicaid, we’ve got to eliminate your Medicaid because budgets, have you ever considered pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and trying private healthcare? Who knows what ideas he’ll administer by 2016? Perhaps in a stunner of a brilliant move, he’ll eliminate all government spending on healthcare, with the exception of the salary of Stone Cold Steve Austin, who will be dispatched to open up a can of whoopass on lazy poors.
-As the Keystone pipeline drifts toward inevitable approval, The Nation has produced an article which, if read in its entirety by anyone with a shred of common sense that gives a fuck about anything, would have them pulling out their hair and shrieking, because energy companies are fracking on farmland. You know, the place where we get a lot of our food. The stuff we ingest to for nutrients and/or calories to continue to live, that goes into our bodies. This place, the same place where our sustenance is grown and/or raised, is now where we inject rocket fuel and a fuckton of other chemicals that can kill you and allow you to light your drinking water on fire. Read the whole thing for accounts of animals losing their fucking tails, outright dying, the farmers losing the fillings in their teeth, and the unbelievable amount of chemicals found in the air and water around their farm.
If ever you give even the most tacit, passing approval to “natural gas,” do so while remembering this is what you support.
-A picture is worth a thousand words. Unless you’re in Wisconsin, and trying to get your false conviction for armed robbery overturned with the support of the Wisconsin Innocence project by presenting new evidence in the form of a videotape showing the perpetrator is of a completely different stature than you and have to ask the state’s Supreme Court to allow this evidence to factor into an appeal plea. Then it’s worth zero.
-Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer due to how difficult it is to detect. Usually, by the time signs become evident that something is wrong, it has progressed to a terminal stage. In a rare bit of what appears to be good news on the surface, a 15 year old genius has invented an incredibly accurate test for this type of cancer that requires only a pinprick of blood and costs three cents (this is three pennies) to make. Perhaps this is the limited path of future medical breakthroughs in the genuine public good: we’re going to require research done by goodhearted people whose hands are completely untied, like Jonas Salk, or alarmingly intelligent teens untainted by corporate money, like Jack Andraka.
-Something American public journalists are either just starting to figure out, or feel comfortable enough writing about, is that America’s health care costs problem is related to just that: cost. It’s not that we receive more or substantially different care than the rest of the world, it’s that we’re uniquely charging out the ass for the exact same procedures with the exact same effectiveness. This comment at the linked FireDogLake article by donbacon is worth highlighting:
We’ve discussed this before and it needs greater publicity. Eleven thousand dollars for a night in a hospital bed? That’s a bit much, when in India it’s $236 and in Germany it’s $632. How about: –pelvic CT scan? US $1481, France $141 –MRI? US $2,758 Spain $245 –Cataract surgery? US $7,806 India $885
You can see it all here.
PS: Which is why I have a popular Medical Tourism website: “Take a trip for your procedure and enjoy a recuperative vacation with the money you save.”
What makes this especially noteworthy - besides everything, such as the direct dollars-to-dollars comparison of the same services and the fact that for the cost of treatment here in the United States, you can get treated and go on vacation elsewhere in the world - is that the closest highlighted cost to a hospital stay in the United States is Germany, which is the most capitalistic of all the universal health care models, with the insurers still being private but intensely tightly regulated. And that cost is still less than 1/10 of ours.
-One of President Obama’s favorite things to do is seek a “bipartisan compromise,” which 100% of the time means we’re throwing money away for inefficient solutions that don’t really address the stated problem. For instance, in one recent “bipartisan bill” we’re increasing drones and other electronic surveillance at our borders, which would have been a great solution if the problem were “defense contractors aren’t getting enough money and we don’t have enough drones on our border" rather than "the path to citizenship is long and onerous and the children of illegal immigrants are consistently in legal limbo.”
-American Horror Story, not even animals are spared: a dolphin died in Brooklyn’s disgusting Gowanus canal after struggling in the black, murky, polluted waters 8 hours after being spotted. People took pictures and video throughout the day and begged the local marine-mammal rescue group to save it, but they declined, saying the waters were too dangerous for humans and the dolphin was probably going to die anyway. Which proved to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as it languished and suffered for 4 hours after the rescue group arrived on the scene. What’s the point in having a marine-mammal rescue group if you’re not prepared to rescue animals from situations which are probably going to be dangerous and necessitate rescue, and what’s the point in having any clean water legislation if you’re going to have canals too fucking filthy for human beings to enter for even brief periods of time? While the blame definitely goes more to the New York legislators whose ineptitude allowed for the waters to get like this in the first place, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to question the point of the marine rescue group where the only viable time an animal can be saved are situations where a George Costanza would do.
-2 articles in as many weeks in 2 different international journals have asked a burning question American journalists wouldn’t dare dream of asking, even though the answer is quite evident. 1.) How serious is Barack Obama about climate change? 2.) How serious is Obama about climate change? Both point out that Obama is readying approval for the Keystone pipeline, anybody who seemed to have any conviction regarding the environment is leaving or has left his administration, and that he can’t entirely blame a “divided Congress” due to actions he could take by himself, but is neglecting to do.
-Potter notes his associations with “Health Care for America NOW!" aka HCAN. He mentions how reform advocates were disappointed with HCAN for "giving up on single-payer too soon" but never mentions that HCAN is an astroturf organization created in mid-2008 during the height of reform efforts. It was never meant to do anything except support Obama’s final bill, and shamelessly capitalize on long-running single-payer advocate group called “Healthcare-NOW!”
-When detailing the incident where Joe Wilson screamed “You lie!” at Obama’s insistence that illegal immigrants would not be able to receive healthcare, Potter mentions that Wilson was rebuked on the floor of Congress, but does not mention how Wilson received almost a million dollars in donations in a short period of time afterward. Mentioning this amazing fundraising would bolster Potter’s own claims of the insurance industry’s misinformation campaign. Not mentioning this serves Potter’s own narrative that toward the end, despite the long and troubled road, all the stars were aligning to finally pass the bill and not that strong opposition remained until its passage, and beyond.
-Detailing the misinformation campaign surrounding the public option, Potter discusses a study released by the insurance industry that ignored objective reality that purported a public option would “force millions into government-run programs” - while this is correct, Potter never notes the reality of the public option’s status in any of the bills: such a small segment of citizens would have been eligible for the public option, and its premiums would have been so high as a consequence, that it would be comparable to private insurance. Because Potter never notes just how weak the public option in the bills were, when he notes its defeat, it makes it sound like an insurance industry win. Again, if Potter had given a bit of background on this that would have taken less than half a page, it would have bolstered his own claims of insurance industry influence.
-Max Baucus is named as a major player in writing one of the versions of the bill. Despite mentioning single-payer an unsignificant amount of times in the chapter, and mentioning how Potter himself met with Calnurses and PNHP, Potter never mentions how single-payer advocates were shut out of, and consequently arrested protesting, any hearings Baucus held on the bill’s provisions.
<b>•</b> Obama’s environmental backers warn that he may lose his green support from 2008 because of the likelihood that he will approve <a href=”http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/191871-green-groups-warn-obama-on-keystone-political-fallout-“>the Keystone Pipeline</a>. His traction among serious environmental groups has already dwindled, and signing off on the most environmentally destructive thing of his Presidency that isn’t <a href=”http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/66908.html”>new BP drilling permits</a> may completely erase it.