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Scuba

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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

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"Good night, and good luck."

Violent States In America — Can You Guess Which States Top The List?

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/10/07/violent-state-crime-rate-tennessee/

The ‘Most Violent State’ Crown Is Held By…Tennessee
What do you think is the state with the highest violent crime rate? You might be surprised to learn it’s Tennessee. Despite the reputations of states like New York, California and Florida when it comes to violence, Tennessee the most violent state, followed by Nevada and Alaska. Those are in the 2nd and 3rd spots, respectively.

The violent crime statistic comes from the FBI compilation of statistics for rape, robbery, murder and aggravated assault.

Why is Tennessee the most violent state? Well, according to 24 Wall St., who originally reported on the list of most dangerous states,

The state was among the top 10 in the country for murders and robberies and was first for aggravated assaults, with an estimated 479.6 for every 100,000 residents. Tennessee’s 41,550 violent crimes in 2012 were up 6.8% from 2011 but down 10% from 2007, when there were 46,380 violent crimes. There were 388 murders in the state in 2012, up for a second straight year. To be fair, Tennessee’s violent streak is concentrated in some of the major metropolitan areas. Memphis’s violent crime rate was the nation’s fifth worst, while Nashville’s was the 18th worst. Like many states with high violent crime, poverty in Tennessee is acute, and high school and college graduation rates are lower than most of the country.


The rest of those on the most violent state list are NV, AK, NM, SC, DE, LA, FL, MD and OK.

The New Yorker: THE BUSINESS END OF OBAMACARE

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2013/10/14/131014ta_talk_surowiecki?mobify=0

Of the countless reasons that congressional Republicans hate the Affordable Care Act enough to shut down the government, the most politically potent is the claim that it will do untold damage to the economy and cripple small companies. Orrin Hatch has said that Obamacare will be “devastating to small business.” Ted Cruz argues that it is already “the No. 1 job killer.” And the vice-president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses called it simply “terrible.” So it comes as some surprise to learn that Obamacare may well be the best thing Washington has done for American small business in decades.

...

Meanwhile, the likely benefits of Obamacare for small businesses are enormous. To begin with, it’ll make it easier for people to start their own companies—which has always been a risky proposition in the U.S., because you couldn’t be sure of finding affordable health insurance. As John Arensmeyer, who heads the advocacy group Small Business Majority, and is himself a former small-business owner, told me, “In the U.S., we pride ourselves on our entrepreneurial spirit, but we’ve had this bizarre disincentive in the system that’s kept people from starting new businesses.” Purely for the sake of health insurance, people stay in jobs they aren’t suited to—a phenomenon that economists call “job lock.” “With the new law, job lock goes away,” Arensmeyer said. “Anyone who wants to start a business can do so independent of the health-care costs.” Studies show that people who are freed from job lock (for instance, when they start qualifying for Medicare) are more likely to undertake something entrepreneurial, and one recent study projects that Obamacare could enable 1.5 million people to become self-employed.

Even more important, Obamacare will help small businesses with health-care costs, which have long been a source of anxiety. The fact that most Americans get their insurance through work is a historical accident: during the Second World War, wages were frozen, so companies began offering health insurance instead. After the war, attempts to create universal heath care were stymied by conservatives and doctors, and Congress gave corporations tax incentives to keep providing insurance. The system has worked well enough for big employers, since large workforces make possible the pooling of risk that any healthy insurance market requires. But small businesses often face so-called “experience rating”: a business with a lot of women or older workers faces high premiums, and even a single employee who runs up medical costs can be a disaster. A business that Arensmeyer represents recently saw premiums skyrocket because one employee has a child with diabetes. Insurance costs small companies as much as eighteen per cent more than it does large companies; worse, it’s also a crapshoot. Arensmeyer said, “Companies live in fear that if one or two employees get sick their whole cost structure will radically change.” No wonder that fewer than half the companies with under fifty employees insure their employees, and that half of uninsured workers work for small businesses or are self-employed. In fact, a full quarter of small-business owners are uninsured, too.

Obamacare changes all this. It provides tax credits to smaller businesses that want to insure their employees. And it requires “community rating” for small businesses, just as it does for individuals, sharply restricting insurers’ ability to charge a company more because it has employees with higher health costs. And small-business exchanges will in effect allow companies to pool their risks to get better rates. “You’re really taking the benefits that big companies enjoy, and letting small businesses tap into that,” Arensmeyer said. This may lower costs, and it will insure that small businesses can hire the best person for a job rather than worry about health issues.

Wisconsin: Scott Walker borrowing more to balance Wisconsin state budget

http://m.host.madison.com/ct/news/local/writers/mike_ivey/scott-walker-borrowing-more-to-balance-wisconsin-state-budget/article_17c3d58a-2d3a-11e3-90fe-001a4bcf887a.html

But a new report from the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance shows the state has actually been borrowing more money to balance the books. The two-year, $70 billion state budget signed in July authorizes an additional $2.05 billion in borrowing, with $1.64 billion of it paid for with general fund revenues. That continues a borrowing trend that has tripled since 1999 under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Under Walker’s 2013-15 budget, debt service will climb even higher, claiming 5.26% of general fund dollars in 2014 and 4.88% in 2015, according to WISTAX. The state’s historical debt level target has been 4%.

The main reason for the borrowing increase is Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income and disabled residents. Spending there will increase an average of 8.7% annually over the next two years compared to a 2.2% increase for schools and 0.5% for county and municipal shared revenues. “These numbers illustrate what has been a decade-long shift in state priorities from local assistance to Medicaid,” says the report.
Walker has only added to the problem, some have argued, by rejecting $4.4 billion in federal Medicaid assistance, linked to Obamacare, over the next decade.

Due to the increases, Medicaid expenditures now account for 15.1 percent of total state general fund spending. That’s a record high and up from an average of about 10 percent during 1985-2003.


Emphasis mine. So Walker is borrowing against our children's futures to finance his Presidential bona fides with the teabillies. Some fiscal genius all right.

The science of the movie "Gravity".

I saw "Gravity" Saturday night and particularly enjoyed the special effects. One question, though ...

In an early scene, two astronauts on a space walk gone bad are tethered to each other, and one attempts to use his "jets" to maneuver back to the shuttle. When the slack goes out of the tether, he experiences a tug.

But in space, would he feel a tug from a weightless astronaut on the other end of the tether? This question led to a discussion of weight vs mass, but the issue was not resolved.

Please help shrink the vast universe of my ignorance: was the tug inappropriate?

Presstitute

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=presstitute&defid=1621012

October 7, 2013 Urban Word of the Day

Presstitute
A member of the media who will alter their story and reporting based on financial interests or other ties with usually partisan individuals or groups.

Robert Novak's latest column supporting this administration's criminal policies show that he is nothing more than a presstitute.



Sound like anyone you know?

Five Habits to Heal the Heart of Democracy

http://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/articles/five-habits-heal-heart-democracy


If "We the People" are to help heal our ailing democracy--and if we do not, who will?--we need to develop five crucial habits of the heart. That, in turn, depends on people in positions of leadership dedicating themselves to forming these habits in the local venues I named earlier: families, neighborhoods, classrooms, congregations, voluntary associations, workplaces, and the various places of public life where "the company of strangers" gathers.

An understanding that we are all in this together. Biologists, ecologists, economists, ethicists and leaders of the great wisdom traditions have all given voice to this theme. Despite our illusions of individualism and national superiority, we humans are a profoundly interconnected species--entwined with one another and with all forms of life, as the global economic and ecological crises reveal in vivid and frightening detail. We must embrace the simple fact that we are dependent upon and accountable to one another, and that includes the stranger, the "alien other." At the same time, we must save the notion of interdependence from the idealistic excesses that make it an impossible dream. Exhorting people to hold a continual awareness of global, national, or even local interconnectedness is a counsel of perfection that can only result in self-delusion or defeat. Which leads to a second key habit of the heart...

...

A sense of personal voice and agency. Insight and energy give rise to new life as we speak out and act out our own version of truth, while checking and correcting it against the truths of others. But many of us lack confidence in own voices and in our power to make a difference. We grow up in educational and religious institutions that treat us as members of an audience instead of actors in a drama, and as a result we become adults who treat politics as a spectator sport. And yet it remains possible for us, young and old alike, to find our voices, learn how to speak them, and know the satisfaction that comes from contributing to positive change--if we have the support of a community. Which leads to a fifth and final habit of the heart...

A capacity to create community. Without a community, it is nearly impossible to achieve voice: it takes a village to raise a Rosa Parks. Without a community, it is nearly impossible to exercise the "power of one" in a way that allows power to multiply: it took a village to translate Rosa Parks's act of personal integrity into social change. In a mass society like ours, community rarely comes ready-made. But creating community in the places where we live and work does not mean abandoning other parts of our lives to become full-time organizers. The steady companionship of two or three kindred spirits can help us find the courage we need to speak and act as citizens. There are many ways to plant and cultivate the seeds of community in our personal and local lives. We must all become gardeners of community if we want democracy to flourish.



More at the link.

"I got mine, fuck you."

NYT's Gail Collins: Frankenstein Goes to Congress

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/opinion/collins-frankenstein-goes-to-congress.html?_r=0

Let’s review. Not so very long ago, worrying about entitlements was central to Republican identity. Then, they began to notice that the folks at their rallies looked like the audience for “Matlock” reruns. The base was aging, and didn’t want to change Social Security or Medicare. The base didn’t even want to be reminded that Social Security and Medicare were federal programs.

During the last Republican primary debates, Gov. Rick Perry called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.” Mitt Romney jumped all over him, then raced off to tell a conservative talk show host that if the Republicans nominated someone with Perry’s view on Social Security “we would be obliterated as a party.”

This year, when President Obama proposed a budget that actually did reduce the rate at which Social Security benefits would rise in the future, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee denounced it as “a shocking attack on seniors.” People like Paul Ryan still fiddled with Medicare, but only in wonkese that didn’t trickle down to the public. There were vague references to the need to “protect” programs for the elderly. But the party had lost its old rallying cry. Enter health care reform.

Just this week, Rick Perry called Obamacare “a criminal act.” He appears to be gearing up for another presidential run, and you are not going to hear any Ponzi talk this time around. However, he’s so set against the new health care law that he’s refusing to let 1.5 million really poor Texans qualify for federally financed coverage. When Rick Perry has a principle, no sacrifice is too great.



No sacrifice for Rick though, just his constituents.

Wisconsin: WHA-TV Madison: Air the documentary Citizen Koch!

PBS can hardly call itself public when one filthy rich man can ban a program he doesn't like.

__________________________________________

"Citizen Koch" was pulled from a national public television broadcast for fear of upsetting David Koch, who has been a major donor to public television. But public television stations should answer to viewers like me, not to billionaires like the Koch brothers - and I want to see this important documentary. Will you join the call for a national broadcast of "Citizen Koch" on Independent Lens?

That's why I signed a petition to WHA-TV Madison, which says:

"Koch money shouldn't influence television programming - we want to see the documentary "Citizen Koch" aired on PBS!"

Will you sign this petition? Click here:

http://petitions.moveon.org/workingfamilies/sign/wha-tv-madison-air-the?source=s.imn.em.mt&r_by=170312

Thanks!
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