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Archive for November, 2009

I don’t get Lieberman and Lincoln..

She added: “But let me be perfectly clear. I am opposed to a new government-administered health care plan as a part of comprehensive health insurance reform, and I will not vote in favor of the proposal that has been introduced by leader Reid as it is written.” But Senator Lieberman, who voted to take up the health care bill, said he was still staunchly opposed to a government-run plan. It is “a terrible idea,” he said.

via Senate Votes to Open Health Care Debate – NYTimes.com.

If they are against publicly run health insurance for those who qualify. What do they want as an alternative for the 31 million Americans who are currently uninsured? If they want to rely on private industry they better damn be for some tough regulation.

For starters preexisting conditions must be a thing of the past. They must also look into the scheme that health insurance corporations have to deny as many claims as possible. Lastly, how is private industry going to insure that these 31 million people become insured? Wouldn’t the government have to provide some sort of subsidy either to industry or individuals? Or are we thinking along the line of a tax credit, which really would not work. Don’t even bring up healthcare savings accounts.

Local legislators put their federal counterparts to shame when dealing with foreclosures

To protect neighboring property values and prevent health hazards that surround an unkempt, foreclosed home, the bill S66007 would require lending institutions to maintain the property so that it remains in a safe and habitable condition. To protect the tenant, the lending institution that acquires the foreclosed property must notify the tenant at least 90 days before taking legal action. The bill also mandates lending institutions allow tenants to stay in their homes for the remainder of the lease or 90 days after notification, depending on which amount of time is greater.

via SENATE AND ASSEMBLY PASS LANDMARK FORECLOSURE BILL | New York State Senate.

At the federal level they focus on bailing out financial institutions and not homeowners. The result is more despair across the nation. At least in New York State constituents can say that two state senators (Jeff Klein & Liz Kruger) and all those that voted for this bill are looking out for them and not just the banks. It’s fine to help enterprise when needed but you cannot leave the people hanging out to dry.

Health Insurance corporations and their execs are terrorists

Wonder why? Because insurance companies can profit from blocking down reform. A newly identified report from Goldman Sachs looked at the impact of health reform on major health insurance companies and put it in stark terms – insurance company earnings could be cut by 50% over the next decade if the Senate Finance Committee version of health reform passes. The best thing for insurance companies? Maintain the status quo of skyrocketing premiums, soaring profits and a health system that threatens our economy. But according to the Goldman Sachs analysis, insurance companies will also profit if the bills in the House and Senate are watered down and stripped of the key provisions designed to protect consumers and help drive down long-term costs.

via News Flash: Insurance Companies Will Profit If Status Quo Continues | The White House.

I use strong language because to me they are the malefactors of great wealth and they are terrorizing people who want healthcare.

I like Bernie Sanders’s banking act

That said, Mr. Sanders’s philosophy seems sensible. Breaking up the biggest financial firms would remove unfair subsidies in the form of implicit government backing, sharply reduce systemic risk, and perhaps foster greater competition. Given the poor performance of some of the biggest financial conglomerates, it might even benefit shareholders. It’s quite a show of capitalist sympathies from a Green Mountain socialist.

via Breakingviews.com – Wells Fargo’s Big Dilemma – NYTimes.com.

He calls it the Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act. If you’re too big you’ll get chopped up!

AG Cuomo goes after spaceman (Intel)

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed an antitrust lawsuit against Intel, alleging the chipmaker threatened computer makers and paid kickbacks to stop them from using competitors’ chips, Cuomo’s office said Wednesday.

via NY attorney general Cuomo files antitrust suit against Intel – Nov. 4, 2009.

What ever happened to the free market (sarcasm) of open competition? Obviously Intel doesn’t seem to like that very much.

Workers get some sleep!

This isn’t the first study to show that interrupting natural sleep cycles is harmful. A previous study whose mouse participants were even more unfortunate found that chronic jet lag can be fatal. Uh, yikes. Suddenly my frequent flier miles are looking less appealing. Another study, this time with hamsters in the unfortunate role of the sleep-disrupted, found that altering natural circadian rhythms results in systemic organ disease.

via In Defense of a Good Night’s Sleep | Psychology Today.

The scary thing for those who travel a lot in their work is that chronic jet lag can be fatal! Everyone needs to get the right amount of sleep. Especially truck drivers and airplane pilots.

Small things I gleamed from a trip to New York

I’m heading back home to the DC Metro area tomorrow but I wanted to blog about three observations I’ve made in traveling back and forth from Manhattan to Hartsdale, NY to visit mom & sis. The first thing was an ad I saw in a subway car about a local police union that wanted to take police officers off of desk jobs and get them on the street. They want civilians at desk jobs. It makes sense when you think about it. If the public is asking for more police officers on the streets, wouldn’t you want to take them off of desk assignments (providing that they are not on a desk job for a medical reason)?

The second thing that drew my attention happened while riding in a cab in Hartsdale. I overheard someone on the radio talking about the Bowery Mission in NYC. The voice on the radio struck me as he spoke with passion and conviction about the Bowery Mission helping a homeless woman in poverty. If I recall correctly, she was sleeping on the streets until someone told her about the Bowery Mission. I went to the Bowery Mission’s website this morning and viewed a video that goes into detail about what they do. I’ve embeded it below.

As a deist while I may not like the religious tone of the Bowery Mission I applaud and salute them! In the war on poverty–a war that’s been fought for centuries–we need everyone working together. Non-profit organizations such as churches &c., have always played a major role in fighting poverty. As they say in Bowery Mission’s video “tonight thirty-six thousand men, women & children will sleep in New York City’s shelters.” “Nearly four thousand more will sleep in the subways and on the streets.” At this time I always like to interject with some thoughts from Joel Berg who has said that NGO’s alone cannot end poverty the government has to do more. Of course government spending is always a problem, but we need to evaluate what we spend on and reallocate funds to what is important.

Lastly, riding in a subway car heading from E 86th Street back to Grand Central Station yesterday I happened to read one of the MTA’s Subway Talk “Train of thought” posters. The poster displayed an interesting quote.

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.

This morning I did not entirely remember the quote but Googled something I paraphrased, and lo and behold, Google actually found the right quote and who it was attributed to! The author is Arthur Schopenhauer.

Indoor plants good for the office

New research shows that ornamental plants can drastically reduce levels of stress and ill health and boost performance levels at work because they soak up harmful indoor air pollution.

via Indoor Plants Could Save Your Life | CommonDreams.org.

If you work in an office it appears that getting some plants will help filter out those VOC’s. The plants to get would be English ivy, waxy leaved plants and ferns. When I get a chance I’ll have to go pick me up some!

Screw credit cards and the banks!

Lenders are making the moves in advance of tougher federal regulations for credit cards scheduled to take effect on Feb. 22. The new rules will limit how companies can modify credit card agreements, specifically prohibiting them from retroactively raising interest rates and fees on existing balances.

via Credit Card Firms Hurry to Raise Rates | CommonDreams.org.

So they are jacking the rates up now.

Google Sidewiki: A new tool for activists

Eric Lee over at Labourstart in his latest newsletter has pointed out the usefulness of Google Sidewiki. I do think this is actually quite brilliant.

Unless you’re a regular reader of the official Google blog (and I’m not) you probably haven’t heard of Google SideWiki.  But a trade union activist in New Zealand has stumbled on something that he calls an “awesome new tool for activists”.   And he may be right.

I won’t tell you much more, but will instead suggest you read what Google has to say:

http://tinyurl.com/lkbxbw

And when you’re done, and have set this up on your computer (it will take you less than a minute), go visit http://www.nestle.com and see what I’ve done to Nestle’s global website.

I installed the Google toolbar with Firefox and it was simple. Now edit away!